More on Peter and John 21

I am still stuck on the interaction between Jesus and Peter in John 21. There are several questions that I have and no real clear answer on it.

Like why did Jesus refer to Peter as Simon, son of Jonah or Simon bar-Jonah instead of Peter or Cephas? John had earlier told the story how Jesus said he would be called Cephas, which means Peter, when Jesus was introduced to him as the Messiah by his brother Andrew. So why did Jesus go back and refer to him by his proper name instead of the one He had given Peter? I read a commentary where someone suggested that Peter might have lost his salvation by rejecting Christ and this was Jesus calling him back.

Simon Peter spoke up, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus told him: Simon, son of Jonah, you are blessed! You didn’t discover this on your own. It was shown to you by my Father in heaven. So I will call you Peter, which means “a rock.” On this rock I will build my church, and death itself will not have any power over it. (Mat 16:16-18)

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 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, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). (John 1:35-42)

I find these two different versions rather interesting.

In John’s version, Peter is told by his brother Andrew that Jesus is the Messiah. In Matthew’s version, Peter professes this on his own much later in their journeys. I think both are correct but from different perspectives. The stories are relating different aspects and when looked at it together, you get a clearer picture. Peter heard John the Baptist profess that Jesus is the Lamb of God and his own brother told him that Jesus is the Messiah, but until he believed on his own, apart from the testimonies of others, his faith never fully developed as he was not trusting God.

Reverting back to Simon, son of Jonah could go to show that Peter had lost his faith. Not understanding that Jesus had to die, after all he tried to rebuke Him when told earlier, his faith could have easily been lost when challenged in away he did not understand. Jesus then approached him at that place again, wanting to restore his faith. Notice how Peter’s affection toward Jesus had not changed, but his commitment to him did. It was that level of commitment that Jesus addressed when He told Peter what would be required of him and where it would take him.



Filed under Bible, Christianity, Relationships, Religion

2 responses to “More on Peter and John 21

  1. Peter was always viewed as the person that ‘doubted’ or was maybe ‘hard headed’. He was also Jesus’ best friend it would seem at times…thus the closeness and the choice to use Peter to continue the movement.

    John 21 is always interesting because Jesus makes Peter repent for denying him 3 times…the ‘I love you’ confessions. I think they were pretty close and this type of banter could only happen between someone that was clearly entrusted to Jesus.

    But Peter is really a good example of every person – we all have our doubts and issues – doesn’t mean faith ends there.

  2. Great discussion topic. No arguable answers here, although I don’t believe the author’s intent was to describe Peter as losing his salvation. I think to assume that would bring much greater problems when reading the texts that declare the sovereignty of God. Peter, when he writes his letters, sees his readers as the elect and chosen of God. There is no reason to assume he placed himself in a different category than those he wrote to. To be the “elect according to the foreknowledge of God’ means Peter and every other believer was chosen before the foundations of the world. Thanks for boggling my mind with something else to try and bring reason to.

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