Have you ever wondered what this verse means? To give you some historical context, John the Beloved wrote this verse during the first century. At that time, winners in the Olympic games received a white stone in recognition of their triumph. This white stone then ushered them into places of honor within society, and into special seating at social events.
We can understand, then, that Jesus is promising to honor us for overcoming during trials. What particularly draws my attention, though, is the last phrase here: “…and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” Today, I would like to explore its meaning with you.
Think about the people you love most on this earth. Do you have a special pet name for each of them? I bet you do. Maybe more than one even. Do they have a pet name for you? Can you bring to mind when that person you really love calls you by your pet name, with deep affection?
That’s what I understand by this verse. It’s talking about intimacy with God. He rewards you for living as an overcomer by bringing you deeper into intimacy with Him. He rewards you by revealing to you His affection for you. He speaks your name in profoundly affectionate tones. It’s so intimate that only you can experience it.
It reminds me of the words of the old hymn, “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own… And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”
That’s not arrogant, to say that you share joy with Jesus that no one else has tasted of. It really is true. There is an intimacy that only you and God can share, that no one else can ever know. This is because there’s only one you. In all of history, and for all the time to come before the end of the ages… there has never been, and never will be, another you. You uniquely delight the Father’s heart. No one else, ever, has delighted Him in the extraordinary way you do.
Think about it. Consider the closest relationships you have in your life. The ones you love the most. Do they delight your heart in identical ways? They don’t, do they? Each one brings to your life something so singular, so unreplicated in any other relationship. Each one with their own sense of humor, their own personality, their own voice, their own smile, their own laugh, their own particular twinkle of their eye. Who they are is their most precious gift to you.
Now take that, and multiply it by infinity, when it comes to Daddy God and you. You delight His soul far, far beyond any human delight you have ever experienced. So your relationship with Him is entirely distinctive, entirely special. You have a name in His heart that no one else has ever had in the history of the universe.
He is a Rewarder. That’s His nature. When you live as an overcomer, He rewards you with closeness to His heart. I hear some concerned minds murmuring, “But I don’t feel like I’m overcoming right now.” Take heart, my friend! Take a good look at this verse: “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith” (1 John 5:4, ESV, emphasis mine).
Victory is not in the outcome. It’s in your childlike faith. It’s in your choice to simply trust Jesus. Every day that you get up in the morning and keep clinging to Him, you are overcoming.
Keep on trusting, precious one. Keep on clinging. You are an overcomer.
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:37-39, ESV, emphasis mine).
His love has you cocooned, deeply cherished, conquering child of God.
Lean in. Do you hear Him calling you that name that only you can know?
Have you experienced God’s affection for you?