Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). (John 1:43)
Is it just me, or does this seems like an anti-climatic "confirmation of/or call" to ministry?
After all, this is Peter we're talking about.
You know... the guy who would
- walk on water...
- only to then sink dismally;
- recognize Jesus as the Son of God...
- only to turn around and tempt Him to walk a different path;
- be chosen to keep watch and pray
- only to repeatedly end up snoring instead;
- bravely and loyally step forward with sword to defend Jesus
- only to deny even knowing him when confronted later;
- give up on himself and go back to fishing fish
- only to become an impassioned preacher, gifted with words and a heart for souls that could only come from one mightily forgiven.
...Paul's conversion and call to ministry was nothing short of miraculous and amazing. I guess, if I didn't already know the story, I would have expected something similar for Peter. Fireworks exploding or the like!
That just isn't the case.
Sometimes only the one called knows something is going on... sometimes the one called only knows that God has quietly given a new name... a new identity... as His ambassador.
That means something to me as a missionary, as one convinced He'd called me to serve on the mission field at the tender age of five (no kidding!).
There really isn't much to this part of Peter's story. His brother Andrew comes home after meeting the Lord. He tells Peter he'd found the Messiah and then takes him to meet Jesus. Once there, Jesus identifies who he is: "You are Simon..." and then gives him a new identity: "You will be called Cephas."
This wasn't the first time that God gave a new identity when He placed His hand on a life. Think of Abraham... Sarah... Jacob... Joseph... Daniel...
God doesn't always clearly give His reasons, although we can certainly make some inferences and guesses from what we read in the biblical text. I believe it is possible that He's showing each one of them they are now embarking on THE mission, the one for which He created them, the one for which He had been preparing them. That new name clues the receiver in on God's divine plan while reassuring them that He still orchestrates all.
Those name changes seem to correspond to life changes resulting in very different people, each time. Only thing? The change didn't always happen immediately. Sometimes it took time. Sometimes it happened very quietly and unnoticeably. Abraham didn't immediately become a father of multitudes... Simon still had much growing to do before he became recognizable as Cephas, a... if not the... key leader and preacher in God's newly established church.
I find that so encouraging.
God recognizes me TODAY for who I will become SOMEDAY... by His grace.
Who are you, today?
Who do you pray you will be someday, by God's grace?
Can you show God's grace to a specific someone who is today... but by God's grace will be, someday? How?
(Edited post and much needed-for-me reminder from the archives of Our Wright-ing Pad.)