When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others say Jeremiah of one of the other prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, ” You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Wow. What significant statements. Peter, proclaims Jesus as Son of the living God (a ridiculously profound statement to be made by a Jew at that time, by the way), and then Jesus renames him.
What’s the big deal? People give nicknames to each other all the time. What’s so significant about that?
Jesus, the son of God, changed Simon’s name to Peter. He chose to identify him as the rock, as the firm foundation on which he was going to build His church upon. He chose an identity for Simon (Peter), one in which was declared, every time his name was spoken.
Welp, it gets better… When Peter was renamed, he was anything but a rock. He was unstable, and impulsive. He had moments of doubt, and said some things that he regretted. He was not yet a firm foundation, one of which Jesus’ church should be built upon…
hmmm… sounds a lot like me…
Jesus understood Peter’s heart. He named him “Rock,” not for what he was then, but what he was to become. He saw ahead, and chose to catapult Peter into his destiny, and in the book of Acts, we witness Peter fulfilling the prophecy of his name.
This afternoon, this scripture spoke beautifully, reminding me that although, like Peter, I am broken, impulsive, unstable, say things I regret, and struggle with doubt, Christ sees my heart. He calls me out, and chooses to build upon me. He looks upon me favorably, and smiles. He understands what I was made for, calls me by what I am to become, and He catapults me into my destiny.
That’s grace. How wonderful.