Welcome to the One Word At A Time Blog Carnival – this week’s word is: Name.
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To see all of the upcoming words and their dates, visit peterpollock.com/category/faith/carnival
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
What’s your name? What does your name mean? Does your name describe you? Do you live up to your name?
It is my belief that names have meaning and power in some way that I really don’t understand. God changed a number of people’s names in the bible times and Jesus did the same with some, most notably Simon, who he renamed Peter.
Exactly why he named him Peter (or Cephas in Aramaic) is a question which has been the cause of great division in the Church. Matthew 16:18 tells us that Jesus declared:
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
The word for Peter in Greek means Rock. Some have taken that to mean that the Church has been built around Peter and thus there follows a line of men to whom Peter passed his authority when he died, who are his substitutes and thus the rock on which the Church is built.
Others look to verse sixteen to give us some context, a verse in which Simon proclaimed:
You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
Their belief is that it’s not Peter on whom the Church is built but rather the declaration that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
Either way, by renaming Simon Peter, Jesus was giving him a name which would forever be associated with the very foundations of the Church.
That’s a fact which really impacts me. My name is also Peter. What rock am I?
Am I a rock that can be built on or am I a stubborn, immovable object which gets in the way and travel more difficult?
The verse from Revelations 2 at the top of this post suggests something quite stunning though: God has a special name for each of us.
There are several interpretations of Revelation 2:17 but it seems to me that God is clearly saying that he will give us a name in heaven which is just between us and him. No-one else will know the name and no-one else need know it because it God’s private name for us, used in the intimacy of our personal relationship with him.
So the question is, what’s MY name going to be? What will God call me?
It’s safe to assume that he already knows what that name will be and so I wonder, when he looks at me now does he see someone who is living up to the name he will eventually own or does he shake his head and think, one day this will be his name… but he does not deserve it yet?
I like the idea that God has a special name for me. It confirms to me that God has a plan for me, and for you, a plan which, if we persist and overcome as the verse says, will earn us a name that God will call us by in our most intimate moments.
What do you think God’s name for you is?