“’Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d, Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, And for that name which is no part of thee Take all myself.” – Juliet, From Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2
“What’s in a name?”, Juliet asked. Their names – is that what is really keeping her and her love apart? She is a Capulet and he is a Montague. Their families are enemies and they are supposed to hate each other, but instead they are in love. In the scene above, Juliet, believing she is all alone in the courtyard, wonders why she and Romeo can’t be together. If a name is what is keeping the two of them apart, then the answer is simple, change your name.
In the Bible, a person’s name was more than just an identifier, but a description of who that person was. A name is a person’s identity, it’s who they are, it defines them and often we find God changing people’s names. People like Abraham, Jacob, Paul and Peter are just a few examples of ones who had their names changed and with it their identities. Some God changes, others change it after having an encounter with Him.
Transformation is a name change. The love and grace of God changes who we are. When we by faith receive the love and grace of God, God gives us a new identity, a new name. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” In Jesus, God gives a new sense of who we are. Like Romeo and Juliet, we are kept apart, but if we are willing to “doff thy name” and receive Christ, then we can be brought together. Romeo must be willing to give up the Montague name to be with Juliet, so we must be willing to give up ourselves to be with God. When we do, we are given a new name, a new identity. We who were “sinners” are now “saints”. We who were “lost” are now “found”. We who were “broken” are now “whole”.
What “name” are you walking around with? Addict? Drunk? Failure? Unwanted? Feel free to fill in the ____________. What do you feel defines you? Juliet’s words are true and powerful, “ And for that name which is no part of thee.” That name does not have to define you any longer. Right here, right now, your name can change. The invitation is open and Jesus is offering you to “Take all myself.”