I stopped by a local fast food place on the way to work today to pick-up a nutritious breakfast - a biscuit with grape jelly and a medium diet coke. Good stuff. As I pulled up to the window I was shocked to see who was working the drive thru this morning - Jesus had the morning shift.
The young man gave me a warm smile and my breakfast and there on his name tag was his name: Jesus. This is not my first time to meet someone with the name Jesus - when I was in Junior High I played basketball and football with Jesus. He would never let us call him Jesus - he went by Jesse but his Christian name was Jesus - it was on his birth certificate, I am sure.
I am curious how it feels to be named Jesus. Can you imagine going through life with your given name being Jesus?
The truth is that the name Jesus, made famous by Jesus of Nazareth, my dear Lord, was a very common name when he received the name so long ago. It would have been like naming your son, John or Bill or Joe - it was a household name. What transformed this common name was the remarkable life of one person who lived nearly two millenniums ago - this name was never the same after he made his earthly journey.
I am understanding it more clearly all the time that being a follower of Jesus is really about trying to be like him - full of grace and truth and a blessing to our world. I have so much to learn and my failings in being like him are in stark contrast to his beautiful life but in my heart I desire to be more like him each day. There was a time when I wanted to be a "great preacher" or "a great Christian leader" but what I sincerely desire now, as I have matured a bit, is to simply be more like Jesus day by day. Jesus said the greatest are those who learn to serve others.
I am glad my Mom did not name me Jesus - Steve is fine for me. I do admire the young man wearing the name "Jesus'" on his name tag who smiled broadly this morning - he was kind when I asked for an extra grape jelly. I prayed a little prayer for him as I pulled away.
Just thinking, Steve