Does your name have any special significance? I mean were you named after someone special or does it have a special meaning? I don’t think that it is a common as it used to be. I have been working in the church for well over 15 years and I have heard many unique names that parents have given to their children and often when I ask why they named their child some special name like, “Jaxon with an x”, they often tell
me that their is no reason other than that it was unique. Well, that was until they enrolled their kid in our preschool program and found out that 5 other kids were named “Jaxon with an x” as well.
Names in scripture had meaning and were given for a reason. It often signified some important calling in that persons life. When Jesus gave Simon son of John the new name Peter (Petros) it was because he would be the rock for which Christ built the church. When God called Abram (meaning exalted father) to become the father of many nations, he renamed him Abraham which means just that.
The Apostle Paul is one of the unique exceptions where he chose to use a different name. Paul who was also named Saul chose to use a different name because his vocation and calling changed when he met Jesus. Paul was a Jew, born in the Roman city of Tarsus. He was proud of his Jewish heritage, as he describes in Philippians 3:5: “Circumcised on the eight day, of the race of Israel, or the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage, in observance of the law a Pharisee.” So zealous and devout was he that persecuting Christians was the natural way for him to show his devotion. He chose to use his Hebrew name, Saul, until sometime after he began to believe in and preach Christ. After that time, as “the apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), he used his Roman name, Paul. It would make sense for Paul to use his Roman name as he travelled farther and farther into the Gentile world.
Paul changed his name because his identity was not in who he was but who he was called to be. This Sunday we will hear about the “Wonder of a Name” and how through Jesus’ name we are saved and a new creation. Our identity is no longer who we once were but it is in a new name given to us. Find out what your new name is this Sunday, December 10th during our 10:30 AM service. You might find out that this name is all you need to restore the Wonder of Christmas in your life.
In God’s grip,
Pastor Chuck Church