January 20 – Real Names

Read: Luke 1:57-66

And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” (Luke 1:61 ESV)

When John the Baptizer was born he was a miracle baby. Born to an elderly couple well past natural child-bearing years, he was immediately special. He was born into the home of a righteous dedicated priestly family who loved and served God well. He was born into a family full of expectations.

It was common custom in those days to be named after someone in your family. Names were more than just labels, they were descriptions, identities, and titles. So when John was born his relatives expected him to be named for someone in the family as a sign of who he would be like. In other words, they fully expected him to be like one of them. God had something else in mind. Elizabeth and Zechariah were attuned to the special calling God has placed on the boy. They were open, and receptive, to letting God dictate John’s future. Instead of slapping a family name full of expectation and history on him, they embraced the actuality of God’s promised destiny for John.

Life with Jesus is the same. We abandon expectations, baggage, and our own sordid history to step into the eventuality of God’s proven destiny for each of us. For the Apostle Paul and Peter that meant literally changing their names to match their new identities in Christ. For us, that means taking on the adoptive identity of the family of God. Refuse to be labelled by the tragedies, tribulations, or triumphs of your selfish past and forge ahead into a new name. No one else can be who God means for you to be.

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