40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 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).
There's so much for us in these verses; that's why we've camped out here in this passage again! Let's dig in . . .
We hear a lot today about "life skills." Think for a moment about life skills that you may have. We can do and be many things, because of our talents and our blessings.
What skills did Simon have?
Well, first of all, we read in the Bible that he was an accomplished fisherman. He knew boats, and he knew nets. He was knowledgeable on the subject of fish, and well acquainted with the sea. We learn as we read further, that Simon was a "man's man." He was outspoken and confident, sometimes boisterous and impulsive; he was likable and highly opinionated. He was married, a property owner, and a leader in his community.
It's interesting that when Andrew brings his brother to Jesus, he doesn't even get the opportunity to say, "This is Simon, my brother." Simon, in fact, doesn't even say, "Hello, I'm Simon."
Jesus looks at him and says simply, "You are Simon, son of John." It's as if He was saying to him, "I know who you are, and what you are. I also know your potential; I know what you can be." And He gives him a new name . . . one that reflects the potential that He sees within Simon.
He calls him Cephas.
Think about it -- do you recall some other times that God gave people new names?
Abram became Abraham. Jacob was re-named Israel. In the New Testament, Saul became known as Paul. At important times in their lives, they received new names.
When Jesus gave Simon a new name, He was saying that He had something important in mind for him. There would be times ahead where he could use his skills. He could fulfill his potential.
The scriptures tell us that when we accept the free gift of salvation, we are given a "new name;" we are called Christians. There will be times ahead where we can use our skills. We can fulfill our potential.
We'll continue these thoughts tomorrow. I hope you'll join us.