We sort of glossed over it yesterday but then maybe you noticed. Our reading from Luke 6 included two back-to-back stories of Jesus being challenged by the Pharisees on his practice of observing the Sabbath. That’s the part I preached about. But that was just the first 11 verses of the reading. We also read verses 12-16, which describe the full roster of Jesus’ closest companions.
12 Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Take a look at this roster. What do you notice? Did you count them off to confirm that there are 12? I noticed all the pairs. There are two Simons (but one gets a name reassignment to Peter and the other must have grown famous for his passionate beliefs). There are two sets of brothers – Simon-Peter and Andrew plus James and John (the sons of Zebedee mentioned in chapter 5). There are also two dads named. And were you surprised like I was to hear of two Judases? Do you think Judas son of James wished Jesus had bestowed a new name on him as he did for the first Simon? I wonder of in later years this Judas is constantly correcting people by having to say, “no, I’m not THAT Judas.”
This passage also includes a change name for the whole team. This collection of disciples are now named “apostles,” meaning “ones who are sent.” New names and titles mean new responsibilities, new expectations, and new trajectories in the story.
Consider all the ways in which names and titles change for us. Has your name changed through the course of your life? How about if and when your title changed, what else changed in your life? If you could choose a new name or title today, what would it be and what would it say about your future?
As you consider all these name-related questions, be reminded of the name God called you at your baptism, “beloved.” And be reminded that this part of your identify has not changed and will never change.
May God’s peace find you this day. -Pastor Peter
Let us pray:
Lord God, your lovingkindness always goes before us and follows after us. Summon us into your light, and direct our steps in the ways of goodness that comes through our life together in Christ. Send your Spirit to enlighten us this week as we serve, pray, rest, and act; trusting that your grace goes before us. We pray in the name of Jesus who shows us the face and love of God, Amen.