/ Saturday, February 15, 2020
Shakespeare’s tragic heroine Juliet, prohibited from associating with Romeo because of his family’s name, protests, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. But the name Montagu was infamous among the Capulets. There was both history and destiny in that name.
The Hebrew word for name also implies fame, i.e. how one is known. Jesus established what Simon Bar- Jonah would always be known for when He changed his name to Cephas (Aramaic for “stone”, Petros in Greek, Peter in English) upon his declaration of Jesus’ true identity as God’s Messiah and Son. Jesus said He would build His church on this “rock” of spiritual discerning of God’s Christ (Jn 1:42, Mt 16:15-19).
Other Bible characters had name changes, including Abram–Abraham, Sarai–Sara, Hoshea–Joshua and Saul–Paul. These changes marked an upgrade in identity or assignment. But the Father’s name is unchanging. He is forever to be known as “I AM THAT I AM [YHWH]” (Ex 3:14). Likewise the name of His Son. An angel announced their child’s name to Joseph and to Mary (Mt 1:21, Lk 1:31) before His birth: Yeshua (“YHWH will save”), and John the apostle called on that name in the final verses of the New Covenant scriptures, in the final book, that is a revelation of Him (Rev 1:1, 22:20). His Hebrew title Yeshua HaMashiach is equivalent to Jesus Christ, or Jesus the Messiah (Anointed One).
We who have believed in Him are children of God and bear His family name (1 Jn 3:1, Ac 15:17). That name has both history and destiny. The Lord Himself planted the tree of life in the Garden of Eden (Ge 2:9) and then He removed the curse of sin by hanging on a tree at Golgotha (Gal 3:13-14). YHWH will save! Why? Because “God so loved the world” and “was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them” (Jn 3:16, 2 Co 5:19).
So how shall we children of God carry the family name? Paul says, “Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Co 5:14-15).
Would any of us who are called by His name deny that Jesus died to reconcile all people to God? No! But many Christ-ians have trouble believing that “all” includes Muslims. There’s something about that name (it means “submitters”), about its history and its destiny.
Lord Jesus, we repent for all the ways in which we have suppressed or resisted revealing the true nature of the Name we carry by Your grace. Please forgive us. We affirm that You live inside us, and we agree with You that “in this world we are like Jesus” (1 Co 7:19, 1 Jn 4:17). Help us stir up our spirits to release Your saving love to all people, just as Yeshua did.
We pray that the people called by Your name would embody this game-changing life-giving message from YHWH to Muslims, just as Yeshua embodied it:
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us” (1 Jn 4:16-19).