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Perhaps this entry would more accurately be titled “What’s NOT in a Name”. Peter figured out the answer to that question pretty quickly! Check out the account of Simon receiving his new name from Jesus, Peter, and what happens immediately after that event:

Jesus asks his disciples who people are saying He is, and they respond with all sorts of answers. Then, He asks them who they say He is. Simon pipes up and proclaims, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”

“Bingo, Simon! God has chosen to reveal to you who I truly am. For that brave confession, I now re-name you ‘Peter,’ ‘the Rock’ on whom I will build my church. You’ve got a big name to live up to, Peter!” (the Laura-paraphrase of Mt. 16:16-18)

We must first decide and declare who Jesus is before He can give us a new name, our true name. However, knowing who Jesus is and knowing who we are doesn’t always protect us from royally missing the boat. Jesus has just given Peter his new name, and then Peter turns around and tells Jesus He can’t possibly be right in going back to Jerusalem to be tortured and killed; that would ruin everything! Jesus calls him out, though, and tells him that he has no clue how God works. (Mt. 16:21-23) Wow, Peter, way to ruin your winning streak!

You see, Peter got ahead of himself – or maybe more accurately, he got a big head because of this huge new name he’d been given – and started trying to correct Jesus. Just because we see Jesus for who He is, and believe and love the name He gives us, doesn’t mean we all of a sudden know everything there is to know about this whole following Christ thing. We don’t have the whole picture yet; we don’t necessarily see clearly what God is doing all the time.

It’s our job to believe the truth in His name and ours, trust Him to do His job, and not run around thinking we know it all just because we finally have the basics down. The Christian walk starts with Peter’s confession of faith, continues with our new name and living life Christ’s way, and ends when we will finally see the full picture revealed by Christ in Heaven one day. We really need to hold off on the know-it-all routine until then!

May we all love our new names, realize just how much we still have to learn, and trust the One who really does know all! 🙂