Jesus Gives a New Name to Simon
Sometimes the Bible refers to him as Simon (47 times) and other times Simon Peter (33 times) but mostly just Peter (139 times).
Peter was the first leader of Jesus’ followers, so calling him “rock” fits. Perhaps Jesus gave Peter a new name to preview his future as a leader.
Even more interesting is a play on words Jesus uses in Matthew 16:16-18. The implication isn’t apparent in most versions of the Bible, but the Amplified Bible captures it nicely (even throwing in some Greek to make sure we don’t miss it).
Peter (Petros, “a large piece of rock,” essentially a rock) gives a proclamation (Petra, “a huge rock like Gibraltar,” essentially the rock) saying Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus affirms Peter’s words, declaring them to be the foundation on which he will build his church.Peter is not the foundation, but his testimony is. Click To Tweet
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.