I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it. Revelation 2:17
Someone said we go through life with three names: the name our parents gave us, the name others give us (our reputation), and the name we give ourselves (our character). The name others give us matters, as “a good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1). But while reputation is important, character matters more.
There’s yet another name that’s even more important. Jesus told the Christians in Pergamum that though their reputation had suffered some well-deserved hits, He had a new name reserved in heaven for those who fight back and conquer temptation. “To the one who is victorious, I will give . . . a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it” (Revelation 2:17).
We aren’t sure why Jesus promised a white stone. Is it an award for winning? A token for admission to the messianic banquet? Perhaps it’s similar to what jurors once used to vote for acquittal. We simply don’t know. Whatever it is, God promises our new name will wipe away our shame (see Isaiah 62:1–5).
Our reputation may be tattered, and our character may be seemingly beyond repair. But neither name ultimately defines us. It’s not what others call you nor even what you call yourself that matters. You are who Jesus says you are. Live into your new name.
How does your reputation match up against your character? How well is your character reflecting who you are in Jesus?
Father, I believe I am who You say I am. Help me to live as Your child.
To better understand the book of Revelation.
The letter to the church at Pergamum (Revelation 2:12–17) is the third of seven that Jesus dictates to John. These letters serve as specific messages to individual churches that then introduce the more general message of the remainder of the book of Revelation. All these churches were located in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) and were in an area heavily served by Paul during his missionary journeys. In most of the letters, each church is given a list of commendations for their faithfulness as well as a set of criticisms for their shortcomings. For Pergamum, the commendations are found in verse 13, where Jesus acknowledges their difficult environment (where Satan dwells) and their faithfulness—even in the face of a member of the assembly being martyred. They were criticized for their allowance of those who promoted false teaching, idolatry, and immorality. Because the possibility for divine discipline exists, Jesus lovingly calls them to repentance.