In biblical times, names did more than identify people. Names often revealed something of their mission or purposes. Similarly, a change of name indicated a change in that mission. For example,
When Abram and Sarai were chosen to parent a great nation, God renamed them Abraham and Sarah. God changed Jacobs’s name to Israel because he will be the father of twelve sons who will lead the twelve tribes of Israel and whose people will be known as Israelites. Concerning Mary’s son, Joseph is told in a dream that he was to name him Jesus, a name which means “God saves”. At baptism, each of us received a new name over and above the name given to us by our parents. We received the name “Christian”. So we are Abigail the Christian or Henry the Christian or Sophia the Christian. In other words, bearing the name Christian reminds us that our mission must be the same as that of Jesus. We are to extend God’s kingdom which the Lord came to establish. God wants to reign in the world through us. God wants to establish, through us, a kingdom of holiness and truth, a kingdom of justice, love and peace. So we must ask ourselves always whether we are true to our name. Are we sources in our world of those things that identify the Kingdom of God? As disciples of Jesus who are given a share in his life, that is our purpose.