One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).
And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas”
(which is translated, A Stone). John 1:40-42 NKJV
As I continue to read the Book of John, I am enriched by all that the Lord is showing me.
I hope that you are reading and growing stronger in your walk with the LORD. HE is so awesome! Today’s blog post is about Peter. In the above text, we see how the Living Word-JESUS, changed Simon’s name to Cephas (Peter) which means a small stone (Petros) in the Greek.
Let’s get some background on Simon. Simon was a disciple of John the Baptist. Simon was a fisherman by trade. He lived in the seaside village of Bethsaida that was along the Sea of Galilee. I imagined he worked many long hours to feed his wife and family. He also weathered many storms while working on the sea, one minute the sea would be still, beautiful like glass reflecting the warm sun and then all of a sudden, the next thing Simon and his crew knew, they would be caught in a storm with high, tumultuous waves battering the small boat (Matt. 14:22-33). Fishermen were rough and tough men who knew how to get the job done. When you look at the word-Simon, it means one who knows the word of GOD. It is apparent in the text that Simon and his brother, Andrew knew of JESUS Christ as the Messiah, they were followers of John the Baptist. They knew the religious history of their Jewish heritage and how God had always wanted a people to call His own, a people who would worship Him, a people who desired fellowship with LOVE itself. Simon knew the Word of GOD. He probably worshipped in the temple on the Sabbath and observed the Jewish Holy Days. He knew that one day the Messiah would come! The Messiah that would take away the sins of the world and bring the Presence of GOD back to dwell with man and establish the Kingdom of GOD on Earth.
Now see Simon as a man, a fisherman from a small village looking at HOPE, looking at the HOPE he had he heard about, the HOPE he studied as a child, the HOPE who would save the world, the HOPE who would give eternal life, the HOPE of GOD's Presence who would never leave, the HOPE who is the WORD of GOD walking, talking and loving people….this is the HOPE that called his name, HOPE says “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). HOPE- JESUS the Christ, the Messiah crowned Simon’s mind with a revelation of new name, a name that denoted his calling, his purpose. JESUS told Simon who he really is. This revelation crowned Simon’s thoughts as he was being transformed into a rock. Simon gave up everything and followed JESUS the Christ, the Messiah...the HOPE he was looking for. For more information on Peter’s life-see Bible Study Tools.
So how was Simon transformed into Peter?
One day JESUS was having a conversation with His disciples in Matthew 16 that gives us a hint. JESUS was always dropping nuggets of wisdom on His disciples. Let’s look at it in Matthew 15, JESUS, The Great Physician, heals a great multitude of people who had various illnesses by the sea of Galilee. Then this same JESUS, The Miracle Worker, feeds over 4000 people with 7 loaves of bread and some small fish! But the religious people who doubted His identity came seeking a sign. Don’t you hate it when “they” come in the form of godliness but really “they” don’t believe. I call people like this “they”. They have no relationship with JESUS and really don’t won’t one. They just want to uphold the traditions of men (religion). They are blinded from the TRUTH. Back to the text, JESUS then tells His disciples to beware of people like this, because their unbelief can contaminate your faith…so be aware of the company you keep. (Matthew 115:29-39, Matthew16:1-12).
Let’s look further into the book of Matthew.
The Master’s Seminary (TMS.edu) gives an excellent commentary of this experience with JESUS and Peter.
So, to paraphrase Jesus’ words, the Lord told Peter, “I say to you that you are a small stone, and upon this bedrock I will build My church.” It was a play on words that made a significant spiritual point.
What then was the bedrock to which Jesus was referring? The answer to that question comes a couple verses earlier in Matthew 16.
Matthew 16:13–17: Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
Peter was just a small stone built atop the bedrock of something much bigger than himself: namely, the truth that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God. Put simply, Peter was not the rock; Christ is the Rock. And as Peter and the other apostles testified to the truth about Christ (which Peter did in verse 16), the church was built upon its only sure foundation.
The rest of the New Testament bears this out.
In 1 Corinthians 3:11, Paul wrote that “no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Source: https://blog.tms.edu/upon-this-rock
So we see JESUS was having a conversation with His disciples in Matthew 16:13-18 KJV. It says…When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (small rock: Petros), and upon this ROCK (Petra-foundation stone: Bedrock, Boulder of truth) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
JESUS is telling Peter the small rock the HE will build His church on the revelation of the TRUTH of about His Purpose. JESUS knew His purpose- JESUS is the SON of the LIVING GOD and the gates of hell will not prevail against His church….Umm, can fire destroy a rock?
Since a rock cannot be destroyed. It may be charred on the surface by fire. The materials that make up of rocks are not combustible, but they can be soften or melt when exposed to high temps for prolonged periods of time.
Peter knew a thing or two about fire or fiery trials…He wrote 2 books chronicling his experiences and encouragements to the believers of Christ- the Book of 1st Peter and the Book of 2nd Peter. In 1st Peter 4:12-13, Peter lovingly encourages us. He says: Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
Like Peter, by the loving grace of our God, you, too, have withstood the fires of life. Fires of broken dreams, fires of disappointments, fires of unexpected sickness/deaths, fires of character issues, fire of money troubles, fires of doubt and unbelief and yes, fires of doubting God’s goodness…wondering Why GOD, Why me…I didn’t ask for this….
Why am I going through this, fires burning all around you…unrelenting at times…so much so that you think you will die! It feels like it is taking the life right out of you…but did the fires or fiery trials destroy the TRUTH of JESUS, GOD’S WORD in your life? Think about it…
You are still here!
You are still breathing and still living!!
The fire did not kill you…it only served as a means to make you stronger. You may be charred but you are still loving the unlovable, still walking, still trusting and believing in the Living GOD.
Like Peter, you are being transformed into a rock! The fire or fiery trials that have or will come will only make you stronger! If you say, ok this is not me, I can’t see this, read the above again until you see it! Put on your crown and change your thoughts! You have a purpose that is waiting you to get up and start pursuing it.
Simon, a fisherman who knew the word of GOD was transformed into Peter-a small rock through fiery trials in the purpose of the LORD and became a builder with other small rocks building on the ROCK- the foundation of JESUS our Christ and Chief cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:20).
Crowning Thoughts Prayer: Our Father GOD, in JESUS’ name, thank You so much! Thank You for calling us by our purpose. Thank You for transforming us from Simon, one who knew the word of GOD to one who is solid, one withstands the fires of life because we have built our lives of JESUS the Chief Cornerstone. Please forgive us when we allow the fires of life to take our focus off of You. Remind us that even when we don’t know the hows, whys, and the what if-You are still with us! You are still walking with us! You will never leave us…You are in the fire with us as You transform us into vessels who are as solid as a Rock!
As the old hymn goes…
On Christ the solid ROCK I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.