Yesterday the Gospel text shared that on the eighth day, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Temple and had him circumcised according to the law and named him Jesus as the angel had instructed. Last week we looked at Old Testament people who had events surrounding their naming. God changed the names of Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah as they would be the parents of nations. They were old but Sarah did miraculously conceive as they acted on that promise. Isaac was born and he was named after the laughter he bought to the family. His son Jacob had his name changed to Israel as he wrestled with the angel and could not be overcome. Jesus was name because he would become the “savior” who would take away the sin of the world.
One of the most famous and debated name changes in the New Testament comes from Matthew 16 when Jesus asks the disciples who people say he is. Peter responds. Catholics use these verses as the foundation for the papacy but Protestants only see the conversation as an affirmation of faith.
“15 He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ 16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ 17 And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:15-18)”
Despite the theological discussion, what do you think of when you think of rocks? Remember, there is the parable of the man who built his house on the rock of faith and when rains of hardship came his house, his life, stayed firm. There is the parble of sowing seeds in rocky soil being a poor place for crops because rocks are hard. We might think of close-minded people. Or we might think of the rock that was the door for the tomb of burial of Jesus. That rock was a door.
If your name were to be changed to represent a characteristic of your life, what might it be? I had a friend named “Delight” and a cousin named, “Joy.” Think of a characteristic you would like Jesus and people to see in your life this year? Jot it down and spend some time talking to the Lord about it. Blessings.