Thursday, September 14, 2006

What's In A Name?

Verse for the day - John 1:42b, "Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter)." NIV

Simon's brother, Andrew was a follower of John the Baptist. When John saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" Andrew left John's side and he spent the day with Him. One of the first things Andrew did was find his brother and tell him that they had found the Messiah. Andrew brought Simon to Jesus, who immediately renamed him 'Peter', meaning the rock.

Simon was a rough and tumble fisherman (and he probably smelled like one, too). He frequently jumped right in and believed he knew the right answers, but he usually ended up with his foot in his mouth. He was impulsive and uneducated. I'm not sure what the name 'Simon' meant, but according to Strong's it is derived from a word that means 'omitted'. I imagine his brother and others who were around Jesus at that time got a good laugh from his new name. It seems like a joke - like calling a very tall man 'Tiny' or a bald man 'Curly.' Peter was as far from being a rock as he could get!

Yet Jesus ignored Simon's immediate character flaws and gave him a name that was consistent with his future. Although he was impetuous before the crucifixion, after the Pentecost he was a new man. On that day he stood and boldly proclaimed the gospel, convincing over 3000 people to turn their lives over to Christ. He went on to become a respected elder and leader of the early church.

Jesus looks at you and me the same way -- not the way we are today, but the way he knows we will be in the future. The plans he has for us may be significantly beyond our comfort zones today, but like Peter, he will prepare us for our new roles.

If Jesus met you face to face today, what new name would he give you?

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