Summary: What do you call Jesus? What will he call you? These are directly connected.
What do you call Jesus?
Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" 14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
Peter called Jesus, “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and Jesus called Peter “blessed.”
What do you call Jesus? What does he call you?
When we read the gospel accounts we discover, among many things, a pattern. Jesus is introduced to people, they see his works and hear his words, then they decide who he is and give him a name. Some don’t actually meet him, but hear these descriptions about him and pass them on. Once they decide what to call him, they can build an image of who he is around that name.
We naturally create categories to define each other by. We call people by certain names or descriptive titles to classify who they are. This begins early in life. I remember some of the names I got in trouble for calling my brothers. My mom wouldn’t stand for us calling each other stupid. And the name, “stupid-idiot,” could bring down the wrath of the belt. We had to be careful when and where we said that one. It was right up there with, “Thou Fool!” in mom’s book, and she is probably correct.
Today, there are lots of creative names used to define a person’s identity. Do you want to know what James Dobson, a clinical psychologist, says are the most powerful names in our society? These eight rated the most emotionally charged: Sexy, beautiful, intelligent, and funny are the top positive ones. Competition is high for these titles. If a person has that identity, they tend to protect it and promote it as a highly valuable commodity. But on the other end of the spectrum: fat, ugly, dumb, and weird are the top negative ones.
Most people, especially young people, and primarily young ladies, will do nearly anything and go to nearly any length to avoid being known as fat, ugly, dumb or weird.
Ugly. Now that’s a powerful word. You all heard about the woman who told the preacher that she believed women should be wearing veils didn’t you? He looked at her and said, “Well, Miss, I happen to agree with you, and in your case, I’d even recommend it.”
Or there was this guy who used to go hunting with a paper bag over his face and when the deer came around, he’d take off the bag and ugly it to death. They said his brother went out with him and tried it once, but he was so ugly, it tore the meat up too much.
Once a person accepts an identity as fat, ugly, dumb or weird… or a combination of those, their sense of personal worth is accepted along with the name. Notice all these names are worldly, sensual, and temporal. But that’s where the world around us places its values. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus came to deliver us from the names of the world by giving us a new name, one that points us to glory forever. The names God wants you to be described by are these: loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, faithful, godly, and self-controlled. These are eternal qualities, filled with spiritual worth and Christ-likeness. These name reach beyond the appearance or fleshly nature of a person. They describe character and dignity within.
Which names are more important to you? I’d much rather be a fat, ugly, dumb, weird but faithful Christian who goes to heaven, than the sexiest, handsomest, smartest, funniest guy in hell. The Bible says of Jesus in Isaiah 53:2-3 that he had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected of men. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Like one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not.