In 2016, the average cost for a thirty second television commercial on a local television station was between 200 and 1,500 dollars. At a national broadcasting network, the cost jumped to about 123,000 dollars. Then, there are the Super Bowl ads which blow the roof off the market. Name recognition is important and expensive. It is little wonder, then, why commercials are often as entertaining as the programs on which they are advertised.
In classic, understated fashion, inspired historian Luke says, “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Later, when Paul was making his defense before Agrippa, the king acknowledged Paul’s efforts to persuade him “to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28). This became the name associated with followers of Christ. It is a name which carries the idea of “belonging to Christ.” Through the centuries, many have suffered persecution for the name of Christ. But, Peter says, “if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in that name” (1 Pet. 4:16).
While salvation is a free gift (Rm. 6:23), name recognition is expensive. Being identified with Christ requires counting the cost of discipleship (Lk. 9:23) and acknowledging our faith before others (Mt. 10:32-33). Silent disciples have neither taken up the cross of Jesus nor worn His name with distinction.
Moral excellence is also required if we hope to be identified with Jesus. Peter admonishes us to “Keep [our] behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12). Peter spoke to the very real possibility that these “Gentiles” would open their hearts to the word of God because of the exemplary lives of those who identified themselves as Christians.
Then, again, if we want to hold up the name of Christ before a watching world, we need to show them our mutual care for one another. Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:35). Brotherly love identifies us with Christ and produces great name recognition in the world around us.
Name recognition as a Christian is the result of giving our lives to him in humble acknowledgement that His name “is above every name” (Ph. 2:9).