Pastor Chris White
One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). John 1:40-42
The first disciples of Jesus were John and Andrew. Earlier they had been disciples of John the Baptist but when he identified the Messiah, he sent them to Jesus. Jesus must increase and I must decrease was the motto of this prophet of God. Andrew never became part of the inner circle of disciples as James, John and Peter became. But every time Andrew is mentioned in the Gospels he is introducing someone to Jesus. Few of us will ever be great leaders and preachers but we all can endeavor to connect people we know to Jesus. This is the ministry for the connectors in the world like Andrew.
First on Andrew’s “to do” list was introduce his brother Simon to the Jesus. I don’t know if it was brotherly love that motivated Andrew or that his older brother seriously needed a “come to Jesus” moment (we all have a sibling like that don’t we?). Whatever the cause, the Bible said Jesus “looked at him”. In the original Greek this is more of a long gaze or what we would call sizing him up. Jesus then speaks momentous words to Simon: “You shall be called the Rock (Peter or Petros).” I wonder if there is a bit of double-entendre intended here. When we say someone is our rock we mean they are steady, dependable, and generally unmovable. But also when we are laying down a foundation for a new building we don’t build it on sand or bark-dust. We dig down to rock or bring a large amount of rock in. In Matthew 16 and Acts 2, Peter clearly becomes part of the foundation for the Church Jesus is building on earth.
What I think we should hopeful about in Jesus’s words to Peter is that while these things were eventually true of Peter, neither of them were at the time. Peter was loving and loyal but a fairly unstable and impetuous person. Our cultural grid for thinking about people is that they are always a product of their past and if you ever did something terrible in your past, you cannot be trusted in the future. There is an element of truth to this especially if a person has not yet been transformed by the Gospel and the Holy Spirit. But that is not how Jesus sees us or even thinks of us. With Him, we are not a product of the past but a product of our future. We become in the future what He says we will be. If any man is in Christ he is a new creature, the old things are passed away (2 Cor. 5:17). Like Peter, when we walk with Jesus, we are always becoming something new and better than we are today. And that is some very good news.