Passing the Word On
Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist before he met Jesus (John 1:35). But when he heard that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:36), he turned to follow Him. Having spent a day with Jesus (John 1:38-39), and seeing something of His amazingly unique character, Andrew understood who Jesus was. Excitedly, he then went back home to the lakeside of Bethsaida (John 1:44) and looked for his fisherman brother, Simon. When he found him, Andrew said, “We have found the Messiah!”
We do not know what Simon was doing at the time, but the narrative tells us that Simon made it his immediate priority to come to Jesus, as his brother had urged him. Jesus looked at Simon, calling him by the name he was given at birth. Jesus then gave him a new name, Cephas, which is translated as Peter. In receiving his new name from Jesus, Simon accepted that he was part of Jesus’ household and under His authority. His birth name which meant ‘listening’ had been prophetically fulfilled. He had obviously listened well to his father that the Messiah would come, and was glad to listen to his brother Andrew, and then listen to Jesus and follow Him.
Now he had a new name: Cephas (Peter), which means ‘a stone or rock’. The promise contained in his name would take a little time to mature. During the ministry of Jesus, he proved to be impulsive and unstable (Matthew 16:23), but later he became a pillar of the church (Galatians 2:9), and in his letters proved to be a wise and godly leader who would keep the believers on track with Jesus (1 Peter 1:3-6). However, in many places, the Gospel writers refer to him as Simon Peter. That too was prophetic for it was only by listening to the voice of God that Peter could become rock-like, established in his faith and a dependable guide for others to follow.
That is still the way that people come to Jesus: somebody who has already met Him introduces a friend or family member to the Lord. It is not complicated but it is an intentional and relational activity. If you know Jesus and care for your friend, then surely it is your responsibility to introduce them to Him (1 Peter 3:15). When you do, you can be sure that Jesus knows all about them and will start to change them, so that they will be able to fulfil the reason for which they have been born.
© Dr Paul Adams