Mary means rebellious and bitter, yet Mary the mother of Jesus did not let the meaning of her name control her destiny.
Rather she bore a spirit of gentleness and humility exemplified by her famous words to the angel ‘let it be to me according to your words’.
On the other hand, Matthew means ‘gift of God’, yet the Matthew of the gospels was at one point anything but a gift of God. His choice of profession as tax collector made him hated and despised universally in his community. He was a collaborator with the oppressive Roman rulers and was therefore seen as a traitor among his own people.
It was only once Matthew came to faith in the Messiah that he was enabled to live out the destiny of his name. His careful recording of the events of Jesus’ life has truly made him a gift of God to the entire world.
In other words, while our names are prophetic declarations over our lives, we still have choices to make. We can choose to reject any negative connotations in our names and we can choose to pursue the beautiful prophetic promise of our names. Mary and Matthew knew the Messiah, and ultimately it is only by encountering Him that we can become all He has called us to be.