Dec 17, 2013

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MEDITATION: God knows your name

MEDITATION: God knows your name

“Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” (Luke 19:5)

“Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah49:16)

To know and call somebody’s name signifies something important.

In fact, hearing your name being called and spoken in a tender and loving way always creates a feeling a warm affection – also of closeness and acceptance.

In the story of the encounter between Jesus and Zaccheus that was the critical moment – that moment when Jesus called him by his name, saying: “Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” (Luke 19:5).

For Zaccheus, the small rich man who was despised and held in contempt by all around him, hearing his name being called in this way, must have been like music on the ears.

Because by calling his name, Jesus showed that he had recognised him. That he knew exactly who he was. What was more: by calling his name, Jesus revealed to him that God – the God of his fathers, the God who is also our Father and Mother, had not forgotten him.

It is by no means accidental that Zaccheus’s name is mentioned in this way. Because his name literally means: “God remembers, God bears in mind.”

This was the great truth that Zaccheus had to hear from Jesus at this critical hour in his life namely that God had remembered him. That God knew him – knew about his secret longings, his loneliness and pain, his discomfort and even his growing sense of remorse, about his dishonest and deceitful life as a tax collector.

Also that God, by calling his name through Jesus, wanted to assure him of God’s irrepressible love for sinners. Of God’s healing forgiveness and God’s generous invitation to new fellowship and communion.

The question however is whether we know this – know that our name is familiar with God. As modern people this claim or truth may perhaps sound incredible, if not totally ridiculous and impossible. But like Zaccheus we may, despite our many doubts and misgivings, once again trust that this is indeed true.

We may even count on it that our name is graven on the palms of God’s hands, meaning that God remembers us, every day – and that God will never leave or forsake us (Isaiah 49:15-16).

Even when we have forgotten or left God.

Carel Anthonissen

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