In Name Above All Names, the authors take us on a journey through seven marvelous descriptions of Christ found in the Bible: the Seed of the Woman, The True Prophet, the Great High Priest, the Conquering King, the Son of Man, the Suffering Servant, and the Lamb on the Throne. By beginning in Genesis with the prophecy of the “Seed of the Woman” who would crush Satan and concluding with the victorious “Lamb on the Throne” found in Revelation, Begg and Ferguson give us a stunning and satisfying explanation of our King whom, thanks to their book, we have even more reason to love and adore. I was thoroughly impressed by their ability to not only pack this little book with information, but to convey such a sense of awe and reverence for Christ within its pages. It seemed as though each page presented a thought-provoking truth or exposition that begged me to pause and reflect on the magnificence of the Savior.
It would be very difficult for me to choose a favorite chapter from this book. I was so encouraged by the explanation given for Christ as our Prophet–who reveals the Father to us and teaches us the truth–as well as the description of Christ the King–who victoriously won a people through his death on the cross. In describing this victory Begg and Ferguson say this:
So Jesus has done everything that we needed to be saved from sin. He has done everything we needed in order for us to be saved from the judgement of death. And he has done everything necessary to set us free from the bondage of the Devil. In a word, he as done everything we need done for us but could never do for ourselves. (pg. 89)
Yes and amen! This is the King we serve and love. Isn’t he worthy?
Perhaps the chapter dealing with Christ’s humanity has had the greatest impact on my perception of Christ. As the authors explain the meaning of the name, “Son of Man”, we are reminded how important it was for Jesus to become fully human (while retaining his full deity, of course) in order to deliver us from the judgement brought upon us through the first human: Adam. It is through Christ–this perfect, sinless man–that humanity is able to be restored to the glory it was originally created for. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from this chapter:
Psalm 8 is a meditation on creation and the sheer condescending goodness of God in making man as his image and in his likeness. We contribute nothing to our own existence, and yet God has lavished privileges upon us–and did so first of all on Adam. The son of man is God’s image, privileged to be given a kind of threefold office. He is to be the prophet who brings God’s word to all creation. He is to be the priest, indeed the liturgist, who gives intelligent expression to the worship that is due from all of God’s creatures. He is to be the king who will exercise his reign and dominion… Jesus is the real man, or in Martin Luther’s expression “The Proper Man.” He is “man as he was created to be” and “the man who fulfills man’s destiny.” (pg. 111)
That is what it means to be the Son of Man. It means to be made in God’s image and to fulfill the divine destiny that would lead to a world ordered and completed as God’s garden, extending to the ends of the earth. So creation as God’s image, fellowship with him in life, experiencing his love and affection, being given a glorious destiny–all this is wrapped up in Jesus’ use of the expression “Son of Man.” He is the one who will accomplish all this. (pg. 112)
One of the most delightful aspects of this book is the use of hymns throughout its pages. It seems as though Begg and Ferguson have an endless supply of rich, theological songs and poems to draw from as they seek to better illustrate the truths they put forth. In this way, there is an artfulness to the book that encourages your own soul to burst forth in song! For instance, in the chapter I was just discussing, John Henry Newman’s poem “Dream of Gerontius” is quoted in an effort to further describe the glorious way in which Jesus’ humanness freed us from the curse of sin:
O loving wisdom of our God,
When all was sin and shame
A second Adam to the fight
And to the rescue came.
O wisest love, that flesh and blood
That did to Adam fail
Should strive afresh against the foe
Should strive and should prevail.
I circled and underlined many (new to me) hymns and poems that I intend to track down after reading this book–which made me very grateful for the in-page footnotes! Also noteworthy are the subject and scripture indexes in the back of the book for easy navigating.
If there were any drawbacks to this book it would be that you never know who is speaking. The entire book is written from a combined perspective which wasn’t distracting until pronouns such as “we” and “us” were used in recounting specific, personal experiences or memories. This, at times, felt very awkward and I would have preferred for each author’s name to be used in such circumstances. As it was, the stories tended to feel a little impersonal which is unfortunate because they were really great stories! This is not to say that I wasn’t able to enjoy them and benefit from Name them; I guess it is just a personal preference.
More than anything I want to stress how much I enjoyed and benefited from this book. I am constantly amazed at how much I have to learn about this Savior who has lavished his love upon me. This book opened up many new areas of study I will be applying myself to in the future as I seek to understand and know him better. I highly recommend Name Above All Names to you, the readers of Desiring Virtue.
You can purchase a copy of Name Above All Names here on Amazon.
This book was the first selection for the [intlink id="12585" type="post"]3 in 3 Challenge[/intlink]. If you read with me, what were your thoughts on the book? Was there a truth you read that was particularly meaningful to you? What were your favorite parts? Was there anything you didn’t like about the book? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!