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)
What a word of encouragement we have before us today! Jesus is so unlike us. Here in today’s verse, He gave Simon son of John His Almighty Affirmation – affirming not what Simon was that day, but what He would one day become: Peter, the Rock.
The name Simon meant “reed,” something that would easily be blown and tossed about by whatever wind was blowing at the time. By changing Simon’s name to Peter, Jesus was affirming him ahead of time and telling Simon what He was going to make him, by grace through faith: a rock, which is a symbol of stability.
It is very important to notice that Jesus did not withhold this name from Simon until he had gone about doing good works and proving himself. Jesus was not waiting for Simon to do more and try harder; no, Jesus simply declared that Simon’s new name would be Peter; in time, he would grow into his new name. Jesus does not merely see people exactly as we are at present (as he saw the Samaritan woman in John 4:18, for example); He also sees what we will become by trusting in Him and looking to Him for the strength to live out life.
How do you see others? Do you see their potential and their possibilities? Do you affirm them as the Almighty affirmed Peter . . . and as He affirms you? Remember, when you trusted in Christ alone for your salvation and Jesus raised you from death to life, your name was changed to Christian, which means Christ-follower. None of us will ever follow Christ perfectly on this side of the grave; Peter certainly did not, and neither will you and I. But in receiving the name Christian, we receive the promise that one day, when we cross the Jordan, we shall actually be perfect followers of Christ. May that Almighty Affirmation both comfort and challenge you this day.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!