Simon? An Apostle! Matthew 16:17-18
At the start of his first letter to the churches Peter announces himself as: ‘Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ’ 1 Peter 1:1. Peter isn’t the name he was born with; it’s his new name. A name Jesus gave to him Matthew 16:17-18. So Peter is living under this new name, confident of his calling; and, consequently, he’s bold with the name of Jesus Christ.
He was transformed from Simon bar-Jonah (his father’s son) because of a revelation from heaven about Jesus; “you are blessed”, said Jesus. But, later, when Jesus was in trouble with the authorities and on trial for blasphemy, Peter fluffed it; he denied knowing Jesus altogether and fell deep into guilt and close to depression. He became the old Simon again.
After the resurrection Jesus forgave him. He restored him. He renewed his calling, saying: “Simon, son of Jonah, feed my sheep” John 21:16. And then other people began to call him Peter as well John 21:2 compared with John21:20.
Simon is not alone in this transformation; there are others. Saul, for instance Acts 9:4; and Joses Acts 4:36. The revelation of God transformed Simon, Saul and Joses into Peter, Paul and Barnabas. And we were also called while we were our father’s sons and changed by the revelation of Jesus into sons of God; we were made partakers of the divine nature 2 Peter 1:4. We were called while we were still in our sins and changed into new creations, workers for Jesus 2 Corinthians 5:15, 17.
Simon was ransomed, healed, restored and forgiven. He was transformed into Peter and now he’s not ashamed to live under his new name. In his own words: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” 1 Peter 1:3.
So, what’s your new name? Christian? Courageous? Faithful? Mine’s Caleb. It was given to me years ago by my Boys Brigade Captain; and it’s stuck.