John 1:40-42

[New to our exegesis of John’s Gospel? Try starting at The Beginning — see top menu for John 1:1-2].

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

40 ἦν Ἀνδρέας ὁ ἀδελφὸς Σίμωνος Πέτρου εἷς ἐκ τῶν δύο τῶν ἀκουσάντων παρὰ Ἰωάννου καὶ ἀκολουθησάντων αὐτῷ· 41 εὑρίσκει οὗτος πρῶτον τὸν ἀδελφὸν τὸν ἴδιον Σίμωνα καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· Εὑρήκαμεν τὸν Μεσσίαν (ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον χριστός). 42 ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν. ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν· Σὺ εἶ Σίμων ὁ υἱὸς Ἰωάννου, σὺ κληθήσῃ Κηφᾶς (ὃ ἑρμηνεύεται Πέτρος).

“A Rose By Any Other Name Smells Just as Sweet?”

In the Gospel of John, Jesus immediately starts choosing his team. In an age when Christian content is so easily available online, and physical churches seem to pride themselves on the worship experience alone, the long time investment of Christian discipling is lagging. In one of the many interviews I went through to become pastor of Highrock MetroWest Church in the Boston area, a person asked me, “Have you ever discipled anyone?” Brilliant!

Notice the first thing Andrew does is find another — his brother — and declare they found the Messiah, and then he tugged him to come and see. We cannot help but share our discovery of Jesus with others!

A friend of mine had a little plaque facing him in his pulpit: We wish to see Jesus found only in John (12:21). It meant, in preaching, bring your congregation to Jesus to see him! And so Andrew did. And so should we, preacher or not.

Next, the text says “Jesus looked at him…” — true, he did. But, interestingly, the Greek verb here is emphatic. It means more than to simply look at someone (Blepo); this word means to look intensely, to study (Emblepo). Having done so, Jesus renames him “Cephas” meaning “Rock” in Aramaic (the language of the Jews at that time), which is “Petros” in Greek, and “Rock” in English, also the name Peter — or even Rocky.

The first disciples followed Jesus, they responded to his calling to Come and See, they lodged with him; and in Jesus, Rocky shows us that we also receive a new name, a new identity, when we make our home in the Lord.

For years I was troubled about my baptismal name, “George.” It means literally farmer in Greek, but also represents St. George (pictured above), the Patron Saint of England and important for Greeks. He is remembered for slaying the dragon. Was I a peaceful tiller of the soil trying to make things grow? Well, yes. But I certainly wasn’t a Dragon Slayer warrior type! Until recently, when I realized the importance of having Courage to face the ancient Serpent.

What are you named?