- John 1:35-42
For some reason, I’ve never liked my name. I have nothing against my parents for choosing it, and I know a lot of people love it: “Joshua.” I don’t know. Too many syllables, I guess, which is why I insist on the short version. But “Josh” also means “to banter in a teasing way.” And that doesn’t describe my personality well at all: I’m generally very earnest, and I’m often the last person in the room to realize that someone is employing sarcasm.
But in the original Hebrew, my name actually means “God is salvation.” That’s better. And it turns out that the name Jesus is merely the Greek equivalent of Joshua, so it seems I have something big in common with someone very important. Whoa, hang on ... that’s way too much pressure.
Maybe I want Jesus to give me a new name. That’s a very important deal in the Bible: when you are given a new name, you are also given a mission. Abram and Sarai became Abraham and Sarah, and their mission was to be the parents of all monotheists. Later, Saul became Paul, a turncoat who began spreading the message of Jesus instead of working against it. And in between, Simon became Cephas … or, translated, Peter. That means Rock. Jesus’ nickname for Simon was “Rocky,” because Jesus could see how solid he was. Despite all his obvious flaws, Rocky was to found the Church.
I wonder what new name Jesus would give me? What name would Jesus give you? And what would your mission be?
Jesus’ first mission was to go into the wilderness. In Lent, we go with him. We all spend some time in the wilderness. And that wilderness could be anywhere … even "Tennessee." Here’s the ’90s hip hop group Arrested Development.