When Jesus walked this earth, He forever changed those who came in contact with Him. As He traveled the streets of Jerusalem, crowds would gather. When He passed by a woman with an issue of blood and healed her, a life was transformed just by touching the hem of his garment. Blind men were made to see again from one encounter. Peter was able to defy gravity and walk on water as if it were solid land. With a single introduction to the Son of God, sick children were up and running, able to not only enjoy their childhood but granted a future of hope. The once-paralyzed were standing and walking, and the ostracized lepers were given fresh, clean skin and fresh, new lives.
As I read John 12:1, a phrase caught my attention. It says, “Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.” It’s just a simple verse telling us that Jesus had changed his location and was now in Bethany, but what caught my eye is how this verse describes Lazarus. He is not labeled “Mary and Martha’s brother.” He is now identified as the one whom Jesus raised from the dead. He has a new title. Once Jesus intervened in his life, Lazarus was described differently. I’m sure that others were labeled too because of their intersection with Him. Can’t you just hear them referring to the guy that used to be blind? “Guess who I saw at the market today? Bob, the blind guy Jesus healed.” Not only were these people forever changed, healed, and—in Lazarus’s case—alive, they were now walking testimonies of God’s love.
Jesus is still changing people’s middle names. Isn’t He?
What is your name? Could it be Logan who was rescued from unemployment? Julie who Jesus healed from cancer? Maybe Ashley who Jesus gave a new car to or Jeff who Jesus downloaded a successful business idea to. As we look back over our lives with Jesus, I’m sure if you are like me the list of middle names could go on and on. An entire, long list could follow our first names. That girl who Jesus brought new friendship to, brought peace to, walked with closer than a brother, heard her cry and answered, provided groceries for, helped parent, instructed through difficult times. It excites me know that as long as we are on the planet and even to eternity, the list that follows our first name is going to continue to grow. How do I know? Because He has been faithful and will continue to be faithful.
Yes, one encounter with this man changed people’s lives forever, and as we walk this wonderful adventure with Him, our lives continue to be changed. Let’s take a moment today and thank Him for all that He has done, and let’s joyfully anticipate what He will add to our middle names today.