October 20th, 2014 | By admin
by Tim Hall
Burglaries happen all the time. In the small city where I live it’s common to see daily reports in the newspaper of break-ins and thefts. I often scan that part of the paper quickly, but rarely take time to read the reports. It’s hardly news (though for those who are victims it’s worthy of front page headlines!).
An arrest in Newport, Vermont caught my interest. The man arrested for breaking in to a jewelry store and making off with $110,000 worth of goods is – Perry Mason. His attorney claims the arrest was made using weak evidence. Still, Perry Mason has five burglary convictions on his record, along with a conviction for escaping prison!
Those young readers among us may not get the point. “Perry Mason” was the name of a famous TV attorney (he never lost a case!), a series which aired from 1957- 1966 and was hugely popular. His name was as well known as Marshall Dillon of “Gunsmoke” or Dr. Marcus Welby, even though all were fictional characters.
The Perry Mason arrested in Vermont is 46 years old; it’s likely his parents named him with the popular TV program in mind. But if they dreamed of having an attorney for a son, the dream took a wrong turn somewhere!
A group of people were given a new name, Luke reported, in Acts 11:26: “… And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Prior to this time, they were known simply as “disciples” (learners), or sometimes as “the way” (Acts 9:2). Some argue that the name “Christian” was first used as an insult – like referring to the disciples as “little imitations of Christ”. Even if that be true, the name seems to have caught on quickly, and Peter used it years later in an honorable way: “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16).
There is only one other occurrence of “Christian” in the New Testament – Acts 26:28. But for nearly the entire history of the Lord’s church, followers of Jesus have gladly chosen to wear the name of their Savior. In accepting the name “Christian”, we seek to honor the Son of God.
The story of this latter-day Perry Mason, however, reminds us that we must sincerely seek to honor the name of our Savior. That was clearly Peter’s point in the passage above – “… let him glorify God in this matter”. Do I honor the name I wear, or does my lifestyle, my words, my actions lead others to mock the holy faith?
I don’t wear a T-shirt identifying me as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. But when I claim to be a “Christian”, I absolutely am pointing to the Lord as the One for whom I’ve been named. May I wear His life as genuinely as I wear His name!
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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Timothy Hall, Minister
Central Church of Christ