February 3, 2020
What Would Jesus Nickname
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.
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."
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
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?
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
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!"