Sharing Our Faith Together

What’s in a Name?

by Stuart Malkin 3 November 2020

There is a new series on the television of ”Who do you think you are?” Each episode takes someone in the public eye and looks back into their ancestor’s lives. This must not be mixed up with an odious phrase of, “Don’t you know who I am?” Some of the previous series have been enlightening to the person involved when looking back at one of their predecessors, others have been horrified.

Parents, grandparents and great grandparents we may know a little about, but when it goes further back probably into leaders of the slave trade on one side or royalty on the other may be frightening. Some of these celebrities have found themselves looking down these histories in disbelief. I wonder how we would like to be shown in a similar way, perhaps you have already looked at your life line. Are you going to reveal your good or bad sides, perhaps not!

Then of course there’s the well known line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Act 2 scene 2 “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet “. You may recall the story of Romeo and Juliet focuses on the of lives of young lovers from two feuding families. The quote implies that if Romeo had a different family name, there wouldn’t be a problem. Shakespeare’s understanding of life’s stupidities is amazingly clear.

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Reading Matthew16 vs 15-19

Jesus said to His disciples “And who do say I am.”   Simon Peter answered “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

“Good for you, Simon son of John “ answered Jesus.

“For this truth did not come to you from any human being, but it was given to you directly by my Father in heaven.  So I tell you Peter you a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven:  what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

The bible has numerous people who’s name is changed for one reason or another.  However,  there is one of the disciples that seems to stand out beyond the others,  that of Simon later to be called Peter.   We are not told specifically that he was the leader but in early reading you can almost hear his almost belligerent voice leading the others.  Possibly from the days on the boats where you need someone to take charge.  The next time we hear of this man in any main even is when he denies,  just as Jesus said he would, and then regrets what he has done.

 This number 1 disciple shows us however that after the events that had blighted his life there was much to do in the name of Jesus. He needed to address the disciples with a new voice,  then the Jews and the doubting council who were baying for more blood because of what was being said. 

In Acts 9 we read he healed and raised a women from the dead in the name of Jesus.   He was going everywhere filled with the Holy Spirit, a changed man from the days of a fisherman. Then we find him in prison. What a life!

Jesus knew this man right from the day he first met him and probably knew what was to happen in many years later.   To be called the Rock must have been something that Simon Peter must have either feared or lived wondering what was just around the corner for him.

So, what’s in a name?

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I wonder if you have people that you have meant something in your life, maybe someone from tv, or film?

Political strong characters of the past mean something to me because I was interested in this area of life in my twenties. There are also numerous names of note in the fields of science and art that must never be forgotten.

Then there is the name that surely must never be forgotten.

He knows your name and mine!

Your name is what it is. It is very special and makes you unique in the sight of God.

Amen