Date: Thursday, May 29
Scripture: Genesis 17:1-8
Verse: And because I have made you the ancestor of many nations, your name will no longer be Abram but Abraham. (Genesis 17:5)
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Sure, Will, but you know what? Names matter. There is a difference between what we call a rose and what we call another human being. The way people address us matters. For example, there was a time in my life when one side of my family called me “Baby Joe.” See, my Dad is Joe too, so this helped make a distinction between us when I was younger. But when I became a teenager, I really didn’t want to be called “Baby Joe” anymore, and I did my best to make sure everyone knew. At other times I have been Joe, JoMo, and eventually Pastor Joe. You can probably also trace some names, job titles, ranks, or some other names you have received or thankfully left behind. Or maybe it is just the way the love of your life says your name that warms your heart. Names matter.
Abraham’s name change is more than just the addition of a syllable to his previous name. His new moniker is a reminder of the promise God had made to him. As the text indicates, his new name is a play on the Hebrew word for “the ancestor of many nations.” His name becomes a constant reminder of who he is in God’s eyes. And notice the promise is in the past tense — I have made you the ancestor of many nations. While it hasn’t happened yet on earth, it is already done in eternity! Wow, what a reminder of who he is, even when he isn’t feeling like it.
While we each have our individual names, you and I share a claim to the name Christian. We are the followers of Jesus Christ, his resurrection people, and we need to remember that. As Abraham’s name was a reminder of the promise coming to fruition in eternity, the name Christian is a reminder to live into the life to which we have been called in Jesus Christ. Even when we cannot see the promise, we know it has been fulfilled in eternity, and we will one day experience it for ourselves.
Oh, and by the way, of all the names people have called me over the years, I like “Dad” best. I would guess Abraham might say the same thing.
Prayer: Thank you, glorious God, for the names my parents gave me, and the name I claim, Christian. Guide me to live into that glorious name. Amen.
Action: Research your name and the names of other people of significance in your life. Do they fit?
Respond: What names have you had? Is there a story? C’mon, I shared “Baby Joe.” What can be worse than that?
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