The Kairos of this World

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What's in a Name?


I never saw it before. It was so easy to overlook. And then I noticed. Sheepishly, I admit that someone else pointed it out to me or I don't think I would have noticed... "Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ..." 2 Peter 1.1 Why does Peter begin his second letter this way when he only uses "Peter" in the first letter. What's the meaning in a name?

I learned the importance of the meanings of names while living in China. There everyone's name had a story and a significance; parents prophecied in the giving of those names. I think that we in the West might have lost some of the understanding in this area. My parents told me that they named me because they liked the way my name sounded. (Little did they know that my name means "warrior" and I've been a handful every since!)

When Peter uses his full name he must be remembering both the failures and the successes he has gone through. "Simon" represents the beginning ("get behind me Satan"; three cock crows) and "Peter" the end (first sermon converts 3000), with a life transformed in the middle ("feed my sheep").

Perhaps he is reminding us that this is the same journey which we take as well, the one from who we were to who were are meant to be. Perhaps he saying, "Take it from me, Simon Peter...I'm proof that everyone can be redeemed by Jesus."

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