Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Simon the Leper

And being in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. Mark 14:3

When I was pregnant with my second child, the boy-name I liked was Matthew. Gary wanted it to be Philip. Whatever the girl-name was, we agreed on that one. But we didn't agree on the boy-name. So the plan was to name him Philip unless he was born on a particular day, in which case he would be Matthew. He was born, we were calling him Philip, and the birth certificate was turned in to the county when I realized that he was born on the day that meant we were going to name him Matthew. Oops. Philip he is.

Turns out that, in the group of Rachel's and Matt's and Philip's friends, most of them are named Matthew. Matt has got ... what?... like, FIVE buddies named Matt. Awfully handy for Philip to have his own name instead of a repeat of everybody else's name. All those Matts have "alternate" names, such as going by a portion of their last name, or maybe by their Belegarth fight-name.

Yesterday morning we began our focus for the next two weeks on the Passion according to St Mark. At the beginning is the anointing of Jesus. There are some who think that Mary of Bethany may also be known as Mary Magdalene, and some who think likewise that Simon the leper was also known as Lazarus (which means "God is my help").

I've heard people say that Lazarus cannot be Simon the leper because, well, because his name is Lazarus, not Simon. Of course, we do have an indication that Jesus gave people new names: "Blessed are you, Simon bar-Jonah ... And I also say to you that you are Peter ..."

While we were on this story yesterday, though, I just started giggling to think about it. Jesus had Simons comin' out the whazoo. Two of the apostles were Simons. One of His brothers was Simon too. Then there was this Simon who is very likely the guy He raised from the dead, the dear friend with whom Jesus stayed when He was in Jerusalem. I couldn't help thinking, "No wonder He wanted to pass out nicknames to some of those Simons. It helps us keep 'em all straight."


  1. ... and then there are seven more Matts where I work...

  2. You know what the most common name in my high school class was? Erin. There were 7 of us, 8 if you included the boy Aaron. Most people called me by my last name.

  3. I've never had that problem.... but, yet, I still have a different name in pretty much everyone's house. Figure that one out. :D