August 26 I Sunday
1 Corinthians 8
“Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of
John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when
translated, is Peter).” —John 1:42
When Andrew brought his brother Simon Peter to Jesus, Jesus said to him, “You are Simon; you will be called Cephas.” In Aramaic, the word “cephas” means rock, and “rock” carries connotations of being solid, stable and strong, all of which Jesus would form in the weak, unstable and impetuous man Simon was known to be.
Despite good intentions, Peter was weak, and did not know himself as he thought he did. Many assumed him to be the leader of the pack as he often spoke out of turn and on behalf of the other disciples. On the night Jesus was betrayed, Peter vowed he would never disown or abandon Him, only to deny Him three times that very night.
When Jesus asked Peter who do you say that I am, Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). Jesus commends him, but shortly after, Simon is back to normal when Jesus tells His disciples He would suffer many things at the hands of the Jews and be crucified. Simon rebuked Him, saying, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned to him and answered, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:22-23). This is the unreliable, outspoken man who Jesus named “Rock.”
When Jesus said to His disciples, “Follow me,” that was their end; “I will make you” was the business of Jesus. Simon Peter needed to be formed as we all do. During his three years with Jesus, Simon was far more sand than rock, and it is interesting to note that while the other disciples called him “Simon Peter,” Jesus always called him “Simon.” But on the day of Pentecost, Simon truly becomes Peter; he becomes rock. Indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, he stands up with the other apostles and is the first to boldly proclaim the Gospel with courage and conviction. His life from then on became an unwavering witness for Christ.
It is not who we are that excites Jesus, but rather who He is going to make us to be. As believers, we are on a journey destined for change, but this is a process that takes time. We all need to be formed as Simon Peter did. We all have sin, failure and weaknesses, but we simply come to Jesus with empty hands and trust Him to transform us into who He wants us to be.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You that who I am, with all my faults, is not too big a job for You. I trust You to form me into who You want me to be. In Your precious name, I pray.