Thought for May 1st. “…. TO CARRY MY NAME”
Our chapters in Deuteronomy and Acts today link together to give us a challenging message. Moses continues his final message, his warning to God’s nation who are about to leave the wilderness, “you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations” that are presently in the land they are about to enter. We cannot help seeing some parallels with the abominable practices in today’s world, before God’s kingdom is established. Moses is then told, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you” [v.15] I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” [v18]
The prophet Moses was told about – is Jesus! We read on Monday in Acts 3 v.22,23, how Peter quoted these very words when he was preaching in Jerusalem. Today in Acts ch. 9, we have the account of Saul, soon to be called Paul, being challenged by the voice of Jesus in an overwhelming bright light – before he reaches Damascus – and then is led blind into the city.
After 3 days a believer named Ananias is told where to find Paul and to lay “his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”[v.12] Ananias is horrified – “Lord” he says, “I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.”
But he is told, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” [v.13-16] It helps to also understand “name” in the sense of “reputation.”
As soon as Paul “regained his sight … he rose and was baptised.” [v.18] This makes plain that the act of baptism, of going “down into the water” [8 v.28], is the essential act to show to oneself as well as others that you now belong to Christ – see Romans 6 v.3-5.
Paul wastes no time in serving Jesus, he now “confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ … and … preached boldly in the name of Jesus.” [v.22,27] Jesus is still, today, asking all who are willing and committed in heart and mind “to carry my name.” Does that include you? Yes? Paul’s words in 2 Cor. 13 v.5 challenge our heartfelt meditation, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”