06 January 2013

Pilgrim's Progress: A New Name

Shortly after Christian meets Obstinate and Pliable, almost unnoticed, Pilgrim's name changes to Christian.  It says, "Yes (said Christian, for that was his name)" (p. 17). Although this name change adds very little to the overall story line, it is a demonstration that Bunyan was careful with each word chosen.  Bunyan could have, from the outset, chosen to name him Christian, but Bunyan understands the importance of a name and he wants to draw the readers attention to it.  Pilgrim was not just a traveler on the way, he had become a Christian, so named by God. 

I can think of several instances in the Bible where people are given new names (Abram becomes Abraham; Jacob becomes Israel; Saul becomes Paul), but Jesus calling Simon "Peter" is the most memorable to me.  Peter means "rock" and Jesus tells Simon Peter that he is the rock on which he will build his church (Matthew 16:17-18).

As believers, we need to live in the realization that God has given us a new name as well.  Though I am Jason, I am also "Christian" for that is my name. 

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’-Revelation 2:17

How often do you take the opportunity to reflect upon your new identity in Christ? 

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