John 1:42: “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas (Peter).” (Translation of Cephas added by me.)
John 1:43: “Follow Me.”
“You are Simon, son of John.” = When I read these words, this is the interpretation of what I hear Jesus saying to him:
“Simon, your family gave you a name, an identity, and a culture. But I supersede all of that. I know the real you because I created you. I know your destiny because I formed you in your mother’s womb and I predestined you for this purpose. Society sees you a certain way. As ‘Simon, son of John’, you are locked into certain expectations and a cultural identity. But I have come and now reveal to you your true identity.”
“You will be called Cephas (Peter)” = “Your name change signifies the total change, internal and external, that you are about to experience. All the past is gone, along with the safe-harbor of its predictability.”
I think it’s cool that the new name and identity would not really be understood by Peter until much later in Jesus’ ministry. And even then, Peter would need more time and some pretty big failures to really grasp what Jesus meant when he named Peter, “the rock”.
But for any uncertainty Peter may have felt at being given a new name, Jesus said…
“Follow Me.” = “Peter, if you are going to be able to become the Rock that I have called you, you can’t stay where you are. All the old needs to be left behind in order to embrace this new life in Me.”
When we meet someone who looks right into us, knows our name before we say it, knows everything about us and then declares a new name and destiny over us, we either get up and follow or waste away in mediocrity. All possibility of joy in the old life has been ruined. By God’s grace, we now know too much.
Lord Jesus, I thank you for ruining me for the ordinary. I praise you for coming to me, seeing right into me – the good, the bad and the ugly – and calling me into a destiny that is beyond my imagination. After all these years of walking with You, I am still learning the depths of the grace you shower on us when You give us a new identity in You. What a marvel it is to be called by You, beckoned into a glorious life that is limitless in power and ever-increasing in wonder.