Passing the Word On
Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist before he met Jesus. But when he heard that Jesus was the Lamb of God, he turned to follow Him. Having spent a day with Jesus, he then went back home to Bethsaida (John 1:44) and looked for his fisherman brother, Simon. It was the very first thing he did. Finding him, Andrew said to his brother that he had found the Messiah. We don’t know what Simon was doing at the time but the narrative tells us that Simon made it a priority to come to Jesus, as his brother had urged him. Jesus looked at Simon and called him by name and He knew Simon’s father was called John. Jesus then gave him a new name, Cephas, which means Peter.
In receiving his new name, Simon accepted that he was under the authority of Jesus. His birth name which meant ‘listening’ had been prophetically fulfilled. He had obviously been well taught by his father that the Messiah would come, and was happy 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 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, but in the book of Acts he became a pillar of the church, the wise leader who would keep the believers on track with Jesus. 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 a highly relational activity. If you know Jesus and care for your friend then surely it is your responsibility to introduce them. 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