- Michael Horton
Anyone who surfs the Thinklings for any time at all will begin to notice that all of the Thinklings and most of the honorary Thinklings have nicknames. This isn't something that happened on purpose - our nicknames grew out of our circumstances, or family relationships, or often just kind of organically as we practiced the fine art of friendship. The origin of some of the nicknames is a bit murky - it is hard to pin down when and why Mark was ever dubbed "Blo". Jared's moniker "Rod" is also a bit of a mystery. Other nicknames (such as mine - "Jewel") are easier to place. Mine dates back to a declaration made by Rod at a youth camp at night in the Colorado mountains in July, 1995, and predates the folk singer (no wait, pop singer) of the same name. For those of you interested in the Thinklings' nicknames, some interesting inside information can be found in A THOROUGH(LY SKETCHY) HISTORY OF THE THINKLINGS.
In teaching a recent class on John based on Beth Moore's "John, the Beloved Disciple" study, I was struck by the nicknames attached to some of the disciples. Have you ever noticed that? John and James are the "Sons of Thunder". Thomas was called "The Twin". Peter was, of course, declared to be "Rock". In fact, his new name Peter (Rock) and his usual surname Bar-Jonah (Son of John) mean that if we knew him here in America today we might know him as "Rock Johnson". You'd have to like a guy named "Rock Johnson", right?
It makes me wonder - and I hope I'm not being irreverent to wonder this - if our Lord was a bit of a "nicknames" guy. It wouldn't surprise me a bit. As I read Jesus' words I'm struck by the rich, expressive language He used. Camels flying through the eyes of needles, mountains being flung into the sea, that sort of thing. I think that hanging around with Jesus, sitting at His feet and just listening to Him, must have been an exhilarating, and often frightening, experience. And now and then one might even hear him declaring a new nickname for one of his followers.
Others in the Bible were given nicknames and new names. Barnabas was given his name because he was the "Son of encouragement". Saul became "Paul" as he ministered to the Greeks. And, of course, we can't overlook Jacob, the "Supplanter", becoming Israel, he who "strives with God". Or Abram being renamed Abraham.
In thinking and wondering on this, I am reminded of the passage from the message to Pergamum in Revelation 2:17b ". . .I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.".
Does that not thrill you? A new name. What does that mean?
Perhaps a name that reflects your new, redeemed character. A "victory" name - the way Simon and Saul and Jacob and Abram were renamed following their encounters with the Lord. A new name, on a white stone. Perhaps a white stone similar to those that I'm told juries used in the first century. Yes - a white stone to show aquittal, pardon, and innocence rather than the black stone that was used in judgement.
Jesus is the great redeemer and the great re-namer. When He saves us and begins the process of sanctification He redeems our fallen character and begins to bring out the jewels and the gold of our new self with His refining and purifying fire. I wonder if perhaps when we meet Him in glory He will whisper our new name to us:
"You were once Liar. Your new name is Truthful."
"You are no longer Needy. Your new name is Fulfilled."
"I call you Beloved."
"You're new name is Beautiful."
"You're old name was Wounded. I pronounce you Healed."
I think of His love for me and it makes me gasp in awe.
His name is Wonderful!