Hey all. As I continue to reflect on the names of God, I want to share with you one that really made an impact on me recently. For those that have not been reading, I began the year with the conviction that I needed to shift my focus more towards the unchanging nature of the God who cares about every aspect of my life and off negative news and circumstances. One way that I have found helpful is to consider a name of God (there are over 1000 in scripture) along with the implications of that name in life today. I have found it encouraging every single time. I found that particularly true this week.
PHYSICIAN: The actual title of physician for God is used only 1 time that could find, and that is in Luke 4:23 when Jesus is speaking about himself. Jesus healed many people when he was ministering on earth, but called Jesus the physician is so much more than a description of his ministry on earth. When Jesus named himself as physician, it was right on the heels of declaring for the first time to people that he was the Messiah. He did this by reading an OT prophecy and telling them that this prophecy had been fulfilled in himself. It was a prophecy about bringing good news, healing, bringing freedom and vision and declaring God’s favor. The implications of this are amazing. Jesus as our physician, like any good physician, is interested not only in fixing our symptoms, but bringing healing to the whole person.
If you visit a good physician, they will not simply listen to you speak about your aches and pains or problems and prescribe a drug. They will dig, question and then diagnose the underlying issue and then decide the best treatment. Sometimes the treatment is painful. I remember having to do physical therapy to treat a problem and to be honest, the therapy was as painful as the original problem that sent me to the doctor. Jesus is our physician. He always perfectly diagnoses and understands the underlying problem for us. He loves us so much he is not content with a band-aid approach. He wants to heal all of us, and he will do whatever it takes to get this done. Sometimes it feels like the cure is more painful and we’d rather just take some pain meds rather than deal with the deep issues. But he desires to heal us from past hurts and traumas. He wants to fix our faulty thinking and harmful behaviors that damage us. He wants to correct our incorrect beliefs and the fractures in our souls. He wants us to heal from the pain of grief and loss. He likes to restore broken relationships.
A friend of mind recently had serious surgery, and he resolved to do everything the doctors told him to do to recover even though it was difficult and inconvenient. Because he followed their instructions, he healed well and completely. I wonder if the things facing us in our lives is part of our Jesus’ way of inviting us to let him diagnose and treat a problem, even though we might only want him to fix the pain. He is our physician and loves us too much to be that shallow. So let’s let him diagnose our issues and then embrace the cure he puts in front of us. After all, he cares and loves for his patients more than any earthly physician.
For those that have been following along, I am posting a couple of times per week some of my devotional reflections on the names of God. It is a practice that helps me keep my primary focus where it needs to be, which is on the one who is thoroughly equipped and ready to engage with us in the of any situation, including the one we are in now. Each name of God gives us a different view into the amazing, grand and complex nature of God. There are over 1000 names for God given throughout the bible, so obviously we are only scratching the surface, but the one I chose today is one I reflected on very early in the year.
ADVOCATE: This is a word we perhaps don’t use often, but it is a powerful one. The apostle John wrote about Jesus saying: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1)
The word used is parakletos, which embodies the idea of someone who is called to your side to help you by pleading your case or interceding for you with another person. Most often, an advocate is used in a legal setting where another person helps state and opinion to try and win a verdict. They are necessary because they have expertise, understanding and qualifications that we don’t have. What does it mean that Jesus is our advocates? It means we never stand alone. He represents us before God the Father. Jesus knows deeply who I am and what I am going through more than I do. He is an expert in what needs to be said and how, especially when I am not even sure how to verbalize it. My advocate is on my side. He is committed to my good. He has no divided loyalty. He is utterly and completely for me. This is a huge encouragement for me.
When my heart is heavy, he knows how to express this best.
When I sin, he intercedes before God on my behalf, pleading for grace and mercy based on his own sacrifice.
When I praise, he turns my praises into amazing expressions of joy.
He is always there, always interested, always invested in me. It means that I am never alone. I never have to defend myself.
Thank you Jesus for being our excellent and perfect advocate. As you advocate for us, continue to convict, lead and show us yourself more clearly, so that we can approach you even more humbly and confidently.
When it comes to God, if we ask the question “what’s in a name?” the answer is simply, “Everything.”
This is my second in a series of posts that is a reflection of something I have been practicing personally that has been helpful for me. Each day I look at a name of God and what it means, the implications for life and for me, and letting it lead me to worship. It helps me to focus on the one who is bigger than me and is worthy of my trust. Last time I looked at what it meant that Jesus is by comforter. There is another name that is interesting and one that probably does not get enough attention in today’s environment.
CORNERSTONE: In the ancient world, any building that was constructed using stone had a cornerstone. This stone was absolutely crucial to the structure. It was the first stone. Every other block was set in reference to this stone. This stone determined the position of the entire structure and brought stability to the building. Ancient people began a practice of putting key treasures or good luck charms in or under that all-important cornerstone. Even though actual cornerstones are largely symbolic in modern construction, we still speak of people as cornerstones. They are key, important, critical to an organization or group of people.
When I think of Jesus as our cornerstone, it means that he must come first. It means that Jesus is the reference point to which we need to set all the other blocks of our life. If we don’t, the structure of our life gets all wonky and off-kilter. It means if Jesus is our reference point then he is the one on which we should base decisions, actions and beliefs. When we do, he will make our lives into the structure he designed. He will give stability. He will be one who anchors everything in place and keeps our lives from crumbling.
It also means that working at odds with Jesus is counterproductive. The decisions and actions of my life are best when they are based on Jesus and his ways.
Jesus, thank you for being our cornerstone. The cornerstone of our church. The cornerstone of each of our lives. Thank you for being the solid, stabilizing presence that we need. Help us to base our life on you as the cornerstone and trust that you can support the weight of our fears, worries and problems.
Weldon Lemke has been leading Hope Chapel since 2009 with a passion to see people come to know God and grow to maturity in Him.