42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).
What would you think if you walked up to someone for the first time and they said, “Your name used to be George but now it’s Fred.” Might be kind of unusual, maybe… As a matter of fact you or I would probably pretty much ignore the comment completely – unless the person doing the changing had some great authority. I know of a couple of instances where names were changed in 2 Kings (23:34 and 24:17). The changing individual was a conquering king…
Names in Biblical times were indicators of character. They were chosen with care to define the character of the child and person. We don’t pay quite as much attention to those meanings today. We choose for liking the sound or that it fits with a last name or a variety of other reasons. But the meanings are there. If you choose to go look for yours a place to start might be:
In Scottish my name, Ronald means Mighty counselor/ruler.
In Gaelic my name, Ronald means Rules with counsel.
In English my name, Ronald means advisor to the king.
The name Ronald was the 10th most popular in the 40’s which is when I was born. So I’m pretty sure my name was chosen for popularity and not meaning or destiny. That doesn’t mean that God didn’t have a reason for it…
I’m going to go out on a limb and propose that there may be more to our names then we think. Maybe they do have a directive force in our lives. After all – God is in control of all things and He does everything for a purpose.
Looking again at our scripture verse for today:
Jesus gives Simon his new name of Cephas. The meaning is “a Stone”. Jesus saw Peter for what he would be after a lot of refining and molding. Through the 4 Gospels, Peter doesn’t quite measure up does he? But then comes the first few chapters of the book of Acts and we see a whole new person. No more Mr. wishy-washy. The name was appropriate but apparently it needed the power of the Holy Spirit to make it work.
And – maybe that’s what we need. I don’t know if I will become “advisor to the King”. Be especially hard as we don’t have Kings where I live. But my spirit sings to the sound of “Mighty counselor” or “Rules with Counsel”. With the empowerment of the Holy Spirit can I can grow into this descriptive meaning. I would very much like to continue to grow in wisdom and knowledge, and to wear my age with ever-increasing Gentleness and appeal. The wisdom gained by a life time of making mistakes and learning by them! And with the Holy Spirit’s empowerment I can.
Years of book learning isn’t as important as the knowledge and wisdom gained by decades!