Known, Re-Named, and Greatly Loved

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     He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the one who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it. Rev. 2:17 (NIV)

Lord Jesus, this Scripture reminds us that nothing is more central to our identity than the name(s) by which we live. Quite often, our most formative names aren’t the ones on our birth certificates.

Some of us have been given names that have shamed and wounded us deeply. And, regretfully, some of us hurt others by the labels we’ve placed on them, or the words we speak in moments of frustration. All of us stand in need of your mercy and grace, which you freely give us in the gospel.

None of us knows whether or not you will, quite literally, give us a new name in heaven. But it is enough that you look at us today with love, and say “You are mine,” “I delight in you,” “I will never reject you or leave you.” Hallelujah.

We are so grateful for the power of the gospel to rename, renew, and release us from old destructive labels—including the ones we’ve given ourselves. But as much as we love our new gospel-names, your name is the name we love to hear more than any other, Jesus.

It’s by your name we’re fully forgiven and declared righteous; are being healed of every disease and freed from every bondage. And it’s at your name we will gladly bow one Day, with everyone in heaven, on earth and under the earth—declaring you are Lord (Phil. 2:9-11). May that Day come soon.

It’s only because you overcame sin and death for us that we are “overcomers.” It’s only because you drank the cup of our judgment that we’ll get to feast on the “hidden manna” of heaven. It’s only because you love us, that we love you, Jesus. So very Amen we pray, in your exalted and all glorious name.

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