"Expedition V. Rhinoplasty", "Fractious S. Lineart", "Stargazing F. Propensity" all know my name.
I'll open my email inbox and there they are, along with a few of their other brothers and sisters, trying to sell me something I don't want or need. Bunny and Sean get emails like that too, and we've begun comparing names every now and then to see who has the most outrageous.
It didn't take but a couple of those emails to figure out that someone has a computer and a lexicon and knows how to use them. They randomly generate names just so you won't know who is sending them. The names are meaningless. Cool, quirky, but meaningless.
I'm reading through the early New Testament today, sort of hit and miss. The idea was to read only the words of Jesus, and immerse myself in the scenes and people around Him. Thank God for red letter Bibles.
What I found was this - Jesus loved people like no one ever has.
Sure you can read His words to the religious fakes and catch a real edge to His voice - even anger. He did that out of love too - for the people who needed to know God loved them. And in the final week of His life on earth, knowing that His message of love would be rejected by those fakes as God's messages to them had always been - He wept. That's amazing love.
When I reached the end of my Bible journey, I was in the book of John. It was there I noticed another name that was different. Just like those email names in a way, since the person had a name, but used a phrase to replace it.
"The one Jesus loved..."
She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. John 20:2 (NLT)
What made John stop using his name? Was he doing that to say to others "Jesus loves me best?"
No, I don't believe so. I think John grasped what it means to know that God loves us. I think the love Jesus showed the people around Him convinced John that the greatest thing in the world was to be known as someone Jesus loves.
Well friends, verily verily I tell you the truth, you are one Jesus loves too. And when you love Him back with everything you've got to give, gradually, little by little, you'll learn just How much you are loved. Toward the end of His life, after decades of following in Jesus' way of love, John wrote this. He was still amazed by Jesus' love.
See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are! 1 John 3:1 (NLT)
Are you amazed? Try calling yourself "the one Jesus loves."
That's who you are.