Perhaps our culture has lost the depth of meaning in a name. We can forget that names mean something. In Scripture, when someone, something, or someplace is given a name, it is given that name for a reason. That reason is often a confession, not just to tell one person from another. Abram means “exalted father,” but he was renamed Abraham, “father of a multitude,” after God promised him descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. Jacob means “deceitful one,” and was given that name for quarreling with his brother from Rebekah’s womb. But after wrestling with him, God gave Jacob the name Israel, which means “the Lord preserves.” After that, Jacob renamed that place Peniel, which is literally “the face of God,” because there he came face-to-face with God and, despite that, his life was preserved.
Why does the Pastor preach? Scripture explains that the role of preaching the Word of God is how saving faith is created: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:14-17). The Augsburg Confession, seeing this connection between the Preaching Office and saving faith, summarizes Scripture on the Office of the Holy Ministry in this way: “To obtain [saving, justifying] faith, God instituted the Office of Preaching, giving the Gospel and the Sacraments. Through these, as through means, He gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when He wills, in those who hear the Gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe” (AC V 1-3). The whole reason the Pastor preaches is so saving faith can be created, so we know that “we have a gracious God” who loves us and has saved us from our sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.