A Year of Listening to Jesus 1/8

42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

After Andrew spent the day with Jesus he immediately went and found his brother Simon and introduced him to Jesus. Andrew becomes known for the fact that every time we see him in the scriptures, unless it is simply to list his name with the other Apostles. he is bringing someone to Jesus. His enthusiasm for Jesus cannot be contained and he is constantly thinking about who he can introduce to Jesus. That kind of zeal is often common when people first come to faith in Christ. Sadly it often wears off over time. Andrew had been searching for the messiah for some time and when he found him he is completely changed and filled with joy. It is a joy that has to be shared. That certainly should cause us to ask, “what of my zeal for the Lord?”. Do you still find yourself enamored with Jesus and wanting others to know him? Or has the fire of your affection grown cold over time?

We also see the encounter that Jesus has with Simon once Andrew introduces them. In this encounter Jesus gives Simon a new name, Cephas in Aramaic. The Greek translation is Peter, or Petras which means rock. Jesus is letting Peter know that he is a different person now because of his encounter with Jesus and that difference is symbolized by a new name that speaks to his new character. Peter is going to be a rock of the faith. He isn’t that completely at the moment. In fact he will demonstrate anything but that surety before Christ is crucified. But eventually we will see Peter living out a strong and vibrant faith in Jesus. The new name is as much a prediction of the change Jesus promises to bring about in the life of Simon Peter.

When any of us come to faith in Jesus he promises to make us into new people. Giving Simon a new name is symbolic of that new identity. You may not be given a new name by Jesus but you are given a new identity as a daughter or son of God. You become a child of the king. Your identity is as a saint, a holy one, who is beloved of the Father. You may not yet be all that implies but neither was Simon when Jesus called him to a new identity and new life. Even though Peter stumbled often in the years ahead, he eventually became the Rock that Jesus declared he would be. He experienced the reality that Jesus already saw. You will eventually experience the reality of being a child of the Father, who is deeply loved, even if you do not feel much like it today. That will come not because of who you are, but because of who Jesus is and his promise to make you what he has already declared.

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