Name Above All Names
By Steve Bietz
The month of August has arrived, but how did the name August become the name of our 8th month? He was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus. Historians struggled with such a mouthful, and simply called him Octavian. His Great Uncle was none other than the Dictator of Rome, Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar desperately needed an heir. He had no son. So, as was common in ancient Rome then and later, Caesar sought his closest male relative to adopt as His own son. He adopted Octavian. And when Julius Caesar was assassinated on what is now known as the Ides Of March, (March 15th) and the reading of his will was announced, naming Octavian his heir, Octavian would become the Emperor of Rome.
It would be at this time that Octavian felt he needed a more significant name. He decided on the name Augustus. In Latin, the name Augustus means “Majestic.” Emperor Augustus also decides to do something that his Great Uncle, Julius Caesar, had done while he was the leader of Rome. This was to name a month after himself. Julius Caesar took the 7th month of the year and named it July, after himself. Emperor Augustus would take the 8th month of the year and name it August, after himself. Incidentally, Augustus did not want Julius Caesar’s month to have more days in it than his, so he took a day from February and put it in his own month of August so that his month and Julius Caesar’s month each had 31 days.
Our month of August does not have a federal holiday, but that does not stop us from celebrating. After all, August 3rd is Watermelon Day and August 25th is Banana Split Day. Also, a day that is dear to my heart, since I am left-handed, is August 13th which is Left Handers’ Day.
Evidently, we are ok with Emperor Augustus having this month named after him. Maybe it is because we are very familiar with things in our lives that are named after famous people. Maybe you have flown into the Kennedy Airport, named after President John Kennedy. Maybe you have visited Disney World, named after Walt Disney. When my wife and I lived in Atlanta after we were first married, we lived on Jimmy Carter Blvd, named after President Jimmy Carter. And I can almost bet that you have visited a Walmart, named after Sam Walton, or eaten a Hershey Candybar, named after Milton Hershey. And there are Trump Hotels all over the place, although I have never spent a night in one.
Yes, we know all about coming in contact with famous names. Let me refer to the name above all others. The reference is not from my own words, but from the Apostle Paul. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” Phillipians 2:9,10. I have always enjoyed the music of Bill and Gloria Gaither. A song that the well-known couple wrote back in 1970 is entitled: There’s Just Something About That Name. Have you recognized that the name Jesus stands above all others? That there is power in the name of Jesus, that there is comfort in the name of Jesus, and that there is peace in the name of Jesus. Indeed, there is something about that name. May it be a name that we each know as our Lord and Savior and even as our best Friend, Jesus.
Blue Ridge Christian News covers Burke County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Yancey County, Madison County, in North Carolina, and Christian news from around the country.