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February 3, 2020

 

What Would Jesus Nickname You?

My Dear Friend,

     The gospels reveal Jesus' penchant for nicknaming people. While nicknames may also be used to express sarcastic reproach or mockery, they were used by Christ as terms of endearment. He nicknamed only His closest friends.

     He stepped back, took a long look at their ways and character, and then pinned a love-name on them: Simon was renamed Peter, "the rock"; the hot-tempered James and John, "the sons of thunder," or "the thunderers"; and the other Simon, "Zelotes," or, "the zealous one."

     Picking up on this the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, took it upon themselves to nickname Judas: "the traitor" (Luke 6:16)!

     Later, the early church continued this practice, nicknaming Joseph, "Barnabas," or "the son of consolation" (Acts 4:36), indicating he was always exhorting other believers to faith and obedience in love - as he later did the new converts in Antioch (11:22-23).

     My fellow believer, are we becoming Jesus' friends, doing always those things He commands (John 15:14)? If so, He's stepping back and watching us as we talk our talk, walk our walk, and work our works. What would He nickname us?

     Which of these identifiers best characterizes our character? "The committed one?" "The son of double-mindedness?" "The daughter of strife?" "The carnal one?" "The obedient one?" "The hungry learner?" "The rock?" "The wavering reed?" "The son of tepidness?" "The murmurer?" "The anxious one?" "The daughter of mercy?" "The worshiper?" "The zealous one?" "My steady seeker?" "The intercessor?" "The glowing heart?" "The encourager?" "The patient one?" "The joyful worker?" "The man pleaser?" "The envious one?" "The rebel?" "My willing servant?" "The praying one?" "The greedy one?"

     If after honest reflection you realize your current nickname may not be too complimentary, remember this: Jesus' nicknames were also prophetic.

     Peter, for instance, was not a rock when Jesus nicknamed him. To the contrary, the record reveals he wavered, stumbled, or sinned more than once during Jesus' three-year ministry. He became "Petros" - a (spiritual) stone or rock always strong, unchanging, dependable, one people can count on and God can build upon - after years of living near Jesus, letting God work in his life and heart, passing through strong testing with a yielded, trusting heart, and receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit and his amazing power. Then the new Peter emerged from the cocoon of the old Simon.

     So if your present nickname isn't pleasing, do something about it. Humbly surrender, draw near Jesus, walk with Him, receive His mighty Baptism with the Holy Spirit (and then obey the Spirit!), and for the rest of your life study His Word daily and obey His Word, correction, and guidance in your tests. What happens then?

     In time you, like Peter, will emerge from the process a transformed man (or woman) remade after the image of Christ - and your new nickname! What will that moniker be? I haven't a clue, so for now I'll just dub you, "friend!"

Being remade,

Greg Hinnant
Greg Hinnant Ministries

       Greg Hinnant Ministries
PO Box 788, High Point, NC 27261
1-336-882-1645