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A new name for a new you

Then he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "Your name is Simon son of John, but you will be called Cephas." (This is the same as Peter and means "a rock".)

John 1 : 42 (GNB)

So what is in a name? Is it just a label to help identify you... after we can't all respond to "oi!". Do you think like Shakespeare that "a rose would smell just as sweet by any other name?"

Maybe you think that there is more to a name than that. Maybe you agree with the idea of "Nominative determinism", which is the idea that you will become what your name is. For example a Mr Butcher might make the best sausages, the cakes by Mrs Baker may be renowned, and Mr Candlestickmaker is well, illuminating.

Jesus seems to follow this idea of our names having significance in our lives. However this significance is far more than which occupation you might join when you are older. The new name that Jesus gave Simon was to reflect his new character. In passage this week we see Simon being renamed as 'the rock'. This illustrates Jesus' belief in him that he could move from being a bit of a wimp, where he repeatedly denied even knowing Jesus into being the strong rock-like foundation of God's church.

Simon is not the only example of someone who has been renamed by God to illustrate their potential. Another example is Abram, who we see God rename to Abraham which means "father of nations", way before he had fathered a single child.

As we see from these passages names can be far more than just labels to help us identify something or someone. Cod can use names to reveal much more of our identity than this, including parts that we didn't even know existed.

We were talking about this in my small group this week, and we decided that we too, would come up with our own new names reflecting something that we would like God to develop in us. Mine was Lionheart, representing boldness and courage. What is yours going to be? Have a great week, Lionheart.

This week's song is You love me anyway by Sidewalk Prophets.

Header image by: Jason Taellious via Flickr