The Bible gives this account of Jesus selecting His disciples: “These are the names of the twelve he chose: Simon (he renamed him Peter)…” Why did Jesus rename Simon?
“Peter” comes from the word “petra”, which means “rock.” But at that time, Simon was anything but a rock. A rock is stable, solid, unmoving. While Jesus was on Earth, Simon was spineless, impulsive and timid. Only after the resurrection did Simon display more rock-like qualities.
Jesus saw in Simon something that no one else could see. Jesus saw the greatness that Simon would someday exhibit. In order to stress that point to everyone – and most importantly to Simon himself – Jesus gave the timid one a new name: Peter. In effect, Jesus was saying “I see you as the rock of a man you will be.”
When I evaluate my own life, I see questions, doubts, and one who struggles to live the life of faith. Yet Jesus sees me as a true follower of His. Though the record may show that I’m impatient, Jesus sees me as the forbearing person I will become. Though my harsher qualities are apparent today, He sees me as the gentle soul toward which I am growing. Though I see myself as one who wavers, Jesus sees me as rock solid.
Jesus has already changed my name, and that’s encouraging.