Who Do You Say I Am

Nicknames.
Do you have one?
Have you ever given someone a nickname?

Bet you can answer yes to at least one of those questions.  I can answer yes to both.

Some names were nice and some were playful.  
Some were not so nice and definately not playful.
Some were just plain misunderstood.
One of the favorite monikers I assigned was to my best friend.  
It was “Bread Head”.  
I didn’t mean for it to be a “mean” name, but I bet there were times when my friend was outright sick of hearing it.
Her name was, in all due respect, also a brand name of sandwich bread.  
The name didn’t have anything to do with her actual hair or her cranium.  
She didn’t ever have bread stuck in her hair or anything.
It was, at best, my early Marketing attempts at assigning a product with a name. 
And it was assigned from the heart.
Not out of a michevious thought.

I sure hope she knew that.

As I handed out names, I also received them.
Believe me, I got my fair share of nicknames.
Some names were nice and some were playful.  
Some were not so nice and definately not playful.
Some were just plain misunderstood.
“Bread Head” called me “Shaz”.
It was a name that had evolved from a previously assigned name.
It was meant in good fun.  I choose to believe so, anyway.  
See, I had a crush on this guy whose initials were RC, like the cola.
To be all incognito about it when we discussed boys, the two of us were refered to as RC Cola & Shasta.
          —yep, I’m feeling all 14 years old again!—
And because I was a bit of a spastic personality (imagine!), the two names were combined to form “Shaz”.

Here’s the thing.  
People are watching.  
People are talking.  
It’s just what they do.  

Is what they say about YOU based on facts, or opinion?

When Jesus was in Caesarea Philippi, the disciples had heard all sorts of things the people there were calling Jesus.  They called Him a prophet, a teacher.  I’m sure they were calling Him names that were not so great, too.  But when Jesus asked the disciples who THEY say He is, Peter speaks up:  “Lord, you are The Christ, Son of the Living God!”  Why did Peter say this?  Because having been around Jesus, in private and in public, he was able to see the facts.  Jesus didn’t have to tell Peter or the other disciples who He was, because the facts did that for Him. 

Think about all the names Jesus is called today.  
Christian music on the radio does a good job of helping us out with many.

“Jesus Messiah……Name above all names…..Blessed Redeemer……Emanuel……”

Followers of Jesus Christ know a ton of names for Father God.  

Prince of Peace
Savior
Alpha and Omega
King of Kings
The Victor
Comforter
Lord
Annointed One
The Great I Am
The Lamb…

There are people who are not followers of Jesus Christ who probably have a ton of names for Him, too.  
Or, maybe they don’t believe in Jesus at all, and in turn, have no names for Him.

Understand this:  What we call Jesus Christ, as His followers, is based on fact.  On Truth.  We are not to be swayed by false names or entertained by name mockery.  And when we hear negative names based on someone else’s interpretation or jest, we should turn from what is not fact.  Not truth.

My 11 year old son helped me compose a list of more than 40 names for Jesus today, in preparation for a group study I’ll be at in a few hours.  When I asked him, “How did Peter know Jesus was the Messiah?”, he answered, “Because Peter got to see Jesus, and see how he acted and stuff, and he got to know who He was because of how He acted.”  My next question was this, “So, how do you think people know we are Christians?”  His answer blew me away.  Not because it was so rocket-science technical.  But because it was so soft, and truthful.  He said, “Because of how we act, and how we treat others.”  Blown away because it has taken me many, many more years than him to figure that out.

Father God, thank You for loving me, despite all the times I failed to call out to You respectfully, and despite all the times I put so many names above Yours.  You are my Savior, my Confidante, my Help, and I am so thankful.  Father, help me to see others through Your eyes so that any monikers I assign are done so through love and compassion and through Your truth.  I love you, Jesus.  Amen.

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