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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Charles Justus Arnold

We gave Chase my father's first name because I adored him and respected him and loved him with all my heart.  He was honest and loving and fun and kind.  He was honorable and caring and patient.  And, when I can write about him without crying at each sentence, because I miss him so much, then I will.

Brian gave Chase his middle name, Justus, for two reasons.  The first is that Brad Justus is one of Brian's closest friends.  Also a model of integrity and kindness.  A genuine "good guy".  The kind that will fight for you and with you and ask for the reasons later.  We respect and love Brad and his family so much that they are on the short list of who gets the kids should something happen to both of us.  

The second meaning behind the name is Biblical. The short story is that Justus was one of the runners-up to replace Judas in the circle of 12.  Read this chapter for reference and the thoughts I have are at the end.  Stick with it now, or my comments won't make any sense!

Here's the story in Acts chapter 1, written by the apostle Paul:

Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus— he was one of our number and shared in this ministry."

(With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

"For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms, " 'May his place be deserted;  let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, " 'May another take his place of leadership.' Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."

So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

I don't know that we put this much thought into it originally, but there are a couple of things I hope Chase can learn from this guy.  One is that he was among the first to believe.  Granted, Jesus actually appeared to a bunch of people after His resurrection, so for my faithless heart, His belief seems easier.  I hope Chase is an "early believer" and doesn't ask for dozens of proofs first!

Also, Justus was a runner-up.  He was called out, we don't know exactly why, but presumably he stood out among the believers for some reason.  He stood out, but was not chosen in the end.  It's ok to not be first.  To not be the chosen one.  What matters is that his faith be so palpable that he stands out and people say, "I want what HE'S got!"

Lastly, Justus was the tiniest part, as Peter pointed out, of the fulfilling of yet another Old Testament prophecy.  The statistical likelihood of ANY of the Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled is staggering. I want Chase to know that he knows that he knows the story of Jesus is not made up.  It happened. It's real.  And, Jesus died for him, too!

As an aside, there are other references to the name "Justus" in the Bible.  Not the least of which is one who was imprisoned with Paul named "Jesus, also called Justus."  You can read about it in Colossians 4:10-12

I can't wait to record all the ways Chase lives up to his namesakes.


1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure when this became the third reason for "Justus" in my mind, but I love the fact that Chase's name -- when said in it's entirety (Charles Justus Arnold) -- sounds like the name of a Civil War commander. Original intent vs revisionist?