I started watching ‘The Chosen’, an original on-line mini-series, last week. This tells the story of how the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ where ‘chosen‘.
This first episode, titled ‘I have called You by Name’, introduces us to Simon, Mathew and James. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin sees a woman that appears to be possessed. He attempts to heal her but is deeply disturbed by the experience.
I was waiting with anticipation to see Jesus in the story. I was not disappointed.
In the most impactful and poignant part, Jesus calls Mary Magdalene. He calls her by her name and in the process she is healed of her demons.
This scene was deep and moving, and stayed with me for some time.
On reflection, why was this so moving? How does calling someone by name resonate with them and indeed us?
In a computer all your programs and data are simply numbers stored somewhere in the computer. When you want to store a birth date, it is a series of numbers in the computer.
When there is a sequence of instructions to tell the computer to do something, those instructions are also a series of numbers somewhere in the memory. Indeed to make the computer start those instructions you have to tell the computer exactly where to start, one specific spot in the memory of the computer.
As a programmer, to make sense of this enormous collection of numbers that live in the computer – data, lists of things, tasks and routines you actually use names. The name refers to the specific spot in memory – the data or instructions.
As a programmer, giving a name to a routine or piece of data elevates it. That piece of data is important in my program – I want to remember it, recognise it, reuse it.
In a vast number of the most current programming languages, it goes further – if there is data I had used temporarily, if I don’t name it it will be destroyed and discarded by a process called ‘garbage collection’. Let me rephrase that – unless I name the data, the computer will at some stage treat it like garbage and throw it out.
As a programmer, I name it because it is important. I name it because I want to remember it.
It is important to me, because I named it. It is remembered because I named it.
It is not garbage because I named it – and by naming it I have saved it from destruction.
I know it because I named.
Dr Jordan Peterson describes a critical part of the Judeo-Christian belief in this way:
Each of us has a divine spark. God created us in his image, man and woman, equal in his image.
Each of us has a piece of divinity given to us by God. Each of us has enormous potential.
Examining the Bible from the psychological perspective, Peterson’s states that the stories and wisdom in the Bible has survived for thousands of years. They were originally told by word of mouth before being committed to the written form by many authors. The evidence of the power of the message is present in front of you – the Judeo-Christian influence is visible in the remarkable world and technology we enjoy today.
In the Bible, naming is special. Many people in the Bible begin their sacred quests and are transformed when they are named.
Of course if you are a believer, the message is even more profound. The creator made you, gave you a divine spark, and he has named you.
So God, as our programmer and creator, has named you because you are important.
God named you because he wants to remember you.
You are important to God, because he named you.
You are remembered because God named you.
By naming you, God has saved you from destruction.
As Jesus decrees in the pivotal moment in ‘The Chosen‘:
‘I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You, are mine.’
Watch the series, it will move you.
How Can I watch the Chosen ?