Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 40:1-12; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42
“I would rather make my name than inherit it.” – William Makepeace Thackeray
Andrew was the first missionary. He didn’t have to sail off to Africa. He simply went down the road to find his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus. Mother Teresa once said to an American audience that we should not go to India to work with her. We should go next door. Andrew went close by and brought good news to Simon. Simon, when he finally meets Jesus receives a new name (John 1:42). Maybe besides Peter, Andrew should have gotten a new name. Native Americans have the custom of giving names to people which describe their character. In that tradition perhaps Andrew’s new name would be “He Who Brings Good News” or “Brother Finder.” Today’s Gospel does not speak of Andrew receiving a new name. However, the names suggested here for Andrew would be names he made or earned rather than names he inherited. Simon’s new name is now Peter or Rock (see Greek below). This naming of Peter is different from that of the Native American tradition, or from what we are suggesting for Andrew. Simon did not make or earn this name – yet. He was not yet a rock or a firm foundation. This naming was a word of prophecy. Jesus looked into his soul and knew that he was Peter, solid. Simon would later live into that name. Besides the names we have inherited, our given names at birth, we have two other names. One is the name we have made. Is it “Brave Heart” or “Running Scared?” Is it “Loved One” or “Lonely Heart?” This is who we are right now at this time in our life, for better or worse. We may want to keep our name or not. However, we have another name. Just as Jesus did for Peter, he is also looking into our souls and sees who we will be. He is prophetically naming us. Let us close our eyes and look within and see what Jesus sees and accept our new name.
In John 1:42 Jesus names Simon “Peter.” In Greek the word literally means “Rock.” Usually the word for rock in Greek is feminine in form. Here it is the exact same word but has a masculine form or ending.
Deep down and submerged
calls a name out to me loud.
This is who I am.