It's All in the Name

Scripture: John 1:41-42, ‘The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).’

 

Observations: Andrew was one of John the Baptist’s disciples, and he heard John talking about Jesus and decided to follow Jesus instead (v37). Andrew spent the day with Jesus (v39) and by 4 o’clock in the afternoon he was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, or the Christ, God’s Anointed One. The first thing he did was to find his brother Simon and bring him to Jesus. And Jesus does something interesting, as soon as he meets Simon, he changes his name to Cephas (Aramaic) or Peter (Greek), both of which mean ‘rock.’ I’m not sure how much Andrew told Jesus about his brother Simon, but it’s likely that he mentioned their father John. But changing Simon’s name to Cephas/Peter could only be inspired by the Holy Spirit. The only hint as to why Jesus changes Simon’s name to Peter is found in Matthew 16 where Jesus asks Peter who he thinks Jesus is, and Peter replies ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. (Mt 16:16)’ Jesus replies, ‘I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. (v18)’ Roman Catholics believe Peter was the rock on which Jesus would build his church, but we believe Jesus was referring to Peter’s confession. The rock on which Jesus’ church is built is the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. What Jesus saw in Peter was his faith in him.

 

Application: Firstly, how excited are we about discovering that Jesus is the Christ? Are we excited enough to tell others about it, particularly those closest to us? Like Andrew do we go and find our family and friends and tell them that we have found the Christ? And secondly, I wonder what Jesus sees in us? I wonder what Jesus has in store for you and me? The fact that we believe Jesus is the Christ is already a miraculous change in our hearts, but it’s only the first change of many. Just like Jesus turned Simon into Peter, so he will turn us into a new person. How has he changed you? What new name might he have for you (see Rev 2:17; Isa 56:5; 62:2; 65:15)?

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You have revealed to me that Jesus is the Christ, Your Son, and that only in Him can I be forgiven and reconciled with You. Lord, Your word calls that Good news, news worth shouting from the roof tops, news worth sharing with everyone we met, and yet I keep it to myself, and I am afraid to tell others, even my own family. Lord, I ask that You will make me bold in sharing the truth about Your Son Jesus Christ. Lord, change me from the inside out, change my identity, so that I might no longer be the person I once was, but that I might be completely new. I don’t ask for a new name, but that I might live up the name that my parents gave me because of their love for You and Your word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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