Short Meditations in John 1: 42. Changed
Jn 1:42 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).
The thing about Jesus is that he knows what we can become. We look into the future and wonder but he looks and he knows our potential. God always knows the future – He knows everything. It’s the thing I like about prophecy. You look at an ordinary person, even a person in trouble, and then the Lord speaks about them and you hear of a transformed future because the Lord knows what He can do with them.
The lovely example of this is the angel coming to Gideon and says, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” (Jud 6:12) The humour is beautiful. Here is a man hiding away from the Midianite invaders who thinks he is the least in his family and the Lord calls him a mighty warrior. Why? Because He knows that that is what he is going to become!
So Andrew brings his brother Simon to Jesus. Again, building on what we said previously, this suggests a man who is open and seeking. He may be a fisherman but he is open to God. And so he comes with Andrew and meets Jesus. Again as we have said before, the thing we do is introduce people to Jesus. Get them talking to Jesus and he’ll do the changing.
Now whether Jesus’ words are prophecy of what will come about or are words of transformation now, is not clear. But they are words of change and it is about name change and names in the Hebrew culture were important. Simon, we are told by scholars means small stone. Peter means a rock. At the very least Jesus is saying to Peter you may be a small stone at the moment but I am going to make you a rock, one who stands out, one on whom others depend.
Who could ever have thought that this fisherman with a big mouth, as the Synoptic Gospels show him, always leaping in and often saying the wrong thing, who could have imagined that this man would eventually become the first bishop of Rome? What a transformation!
But this is what the gospel is all about – Jesus coming and transforming our lives. We don’t know what the end product of our lives will yet be, but in Jesus’ hands we will be very different from when we first met him.