Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Monday, March 23
Read John 1:35-42

He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). (v 42)


Shakespeare asked, “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Though we often act casual about what things are called, when it comes to our own name, well, that’s another matter. Your name is who you are. It’s what you’ve carried around with you for years (unless you recently decided you want to be called something else); it’s what identifies you. Imagine how you’d feel if you were going to the altar for communion and the pastor called you by a different name as she handed you the communion bread! Few things can cause a person to bristle more than to be called the wrong name. (I know, because I have a terrible time remembering names. If you are one of those I called the wrong name, sorry — nothing personal.)

When Jesus met Simon, Jesus knew who he was. He even identified him: “You are Simon, son of John.” And yet, Jesus had the future on his mind. He knew exactly the man he was looking at and thus gave him a different moniker. “You are to be called Cephas” — Peter, the man who would later be told he was the rock that Christ would build his church upon. In his writings, John does not record that Simon took any type of umbrage to this. On the contrary, Simon probably looked in Christ’s eyes and knew this man saw into his very essence. He left with Jesus and the spreading of faith by Peter began.

These days, if someone says you are their rock, that is high praise indeed. Not that they want you to spread word of them, but rather that they look to you as someone they can trust, someone they can count on. That’s the kind of rock Jesus is for all of us. Always there, always reliable and strong for us. Peter may have become the foundation of the church, but Christ is eternally our Rock. That’s a name we can call him any time and find it wonderful.

Ken Hobart

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