Jesus Knew What He Was Getting
The guys Jesus chose to be His disciples have always fascinated me. The first two who were called into His posse were Andrew and John, friends who were just following a freak in the wilderness who was dressed in camel hair while eating locusts and honey (John 1:35-42). Sounds pretty strange and not very promising. Then Andrew decided to go find his brother Simon (the fisherman) and brings Him to Jesus. You might miss what happens next if you’re not paying attention.
The text in John’s Gospel reads like this: “Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas’ (which means Peter).”
You’ve got to admit, this is a strange way to meet someone. Jesus doesn’t ask any questions about what he does for a living or about his family. Nope, the first thing Jesus does is to change Simon’s name to Peter (which means Rock). Later Jesus would point out his name had an even deeper meaning. Jesus told him the Church would be built on the “rock” of his confession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
Jesus gave Simon the name Peter before he did anything. He had not gone out on any bold endeavor for the Kingdom of God. It came before he got out of the boat and tried to walk on water, before swearing to never abandon Jesus, and before his sermon on Pentecost resulting in 3,000 conversions. It even came before his confession that Jesus was the Son of God. He did nothing to merit this name change—Jesus just renamed him.
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