Baker, Brewer, and Butcher and Weaver, Woodman and Wright, are more than last names, they are the names of a craft, skill, or trade. In times past, parents had some choice in the selection of their child’s first name; however, the last name was closely associated with the occupation in which they were employed. If you worked in the meat market and your name was James, you were probably called “James the Butcher.”
Today, there is little connection between last names and occupations. At least here in the USA, your name might be Butcher, but you could make your living as a Baker or Candlestick-Maker.
When we think of identifying someone, we are more likely to think of the characteristic or physical feature that best defines the person.
If you were to be identified by a spiritual feature, what would distinguish you from the rest of society? In Acts 11:26, a person’s relationship with Christ set him apart from the rest of the community.
The city of Antioch was the first place to call the avid followers of Christ, “Christians.” Instead of focusing on what divided them, these Christians chose to identify with the love that united them. No longer would they be called Jew or Gentile, but from this point forward they identified themselves as Christians.
1 Peter 2:9-10 speaks of our identity in Christ:
You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
When you think of who you are in your relationship with Jesus, I suggest you think in these terms:
- You are completely accepted because you have been “chosen.”
- You are incredibly valuable because you are “His own possession.”
- You have a wonderful ministry because you are to “proclaim the excellencies of Him.”
- You are totally forgiven because you have “received mercy.”
There is no mistaken identity here, and I know who you are: You are a child of the King.