Isn’t it awesome that as disciples of Jesus we get to be new people? In my mind, the best part of the Good News isn’t heaven after I die (though I gotta tell you I’m looking forward to an eternal party with all my friends in a new body in a BIG way), it’s that I get to start experiencing heaven now. The longer and harder I follow Jesus, the more He grows inside me and the more I become a new person.
In the First Testament, when a person has a major encounter with God he or she gets a new name. Abram and Sarai become Abraham and Sarah. Jacob becomes Israel. Simon becomes Peter. And if I read this text right, you and I get new names too. As we endure our hardships through the power of God we get brand new names – entirely new identities that radiate the joyful, peaceful, loving presence of Jesus. Nice. Sign me up for that!