The Sixth Day of Christmas: A New Name

What made people see the divine in Jesus? He wasn’t like the others in the ancient world who claimed deity for themselves. While they strained themselves to build more glorious palaces, greater monuments to their achievements, grander tombs for their corpses, Jesus skipped that whole competition. He displayed royal authority in a completely different way.  

If you read the beginning of John’s Gospel, you find a series of peculiar meetings. Philip brings his brother Nathaniel to meet Jesus, and Jesus greets him with “Look! It’s a true Israelite, with no deceit in him!” Now, that happens to be true, but Jesus has never met Nathaniel before. Nathaniel asks how He knows him, and Jesus says, “Before, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathaniel instantly proclaims Jesus as the promised Messiah…which begs the question: what was happening under the fig tree? We don’t know, but Nathaniel did, and it convinced him. 

In the same way, when Andrew brings his brother to meet Jesus, Jesus instantly renames him: “You are the son of Jonah, the one they call Indecisive. You will be called Rock.” (And he was, too–that man becomes St. Peter, the pillar of the early church.) What was his past like, that they called him Indecisive? We don’t know. But Jesus wasn’t looking at his past–He was looking at his future. 

This is what it looks like when God becomes a man. He knows every person He meets, sees them for who they really are. And He has a new name for them. A new name for you, just like He had for Peter. A name you wouldn’t dare choose for yourself, a name that’s about your future, not your past. Have you asked Him what it is? 

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