"What's in a name?"

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," mused Juliet in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It's evident that Juliet was not Hebrew. For the people of ancient Israel felt that the meaning behind a person's name was vitally important. Parents carefully chose a name based on the personality, characteristics, or character that they saw in their child, or what they hoped would be true of their son or daughter.

When Jesus first called Simon to be His disciple, the fisherman was known for his rash and reckless ways, a shifting-sand kind of person. Later, Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter, which means rock. It took a while, however, for Peter to live up to his new name.

We read in a subsequent account (Matthew 26) that Peter failed Jesus by denying Him three times. Prior to that failure was another sad episode in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the garden, Jesus' soul was "crushed with grief to the point of death" (Matthew 26:38). Three times He got up to seek out His disciples. Each time He found them sleeping. "He said to Peter, ‘Couldn't you watch with Me even one hour?' " (v.40).

At the close of the gospel of John, we find Peter returning to his old trade of fishing, perhaps due to disappointment with himself (John 21). But the story doesn't end there. Jesus came to reinstate Peter. In essence, Jesus helped Peter understand that God had not given up on him and that God still wanted to use him.

If you, like Peter, have received Jesus as your Savior, you now are identified with the name of Christ. You are a Christian. This title lifts up who you are and calls you to become what you are not yet. Be encouraged. God isn't done with you yet. , Poh Fang Chia, Our Daily Journey

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