Last week we talked about Abraham—father of many,--and Sarah’s name change as well. Today we will explore more name significance and their meanings to help us understand God’s word to us today.
|Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John witness the meeting of Jesus with Elijah and Moses|
Have you ever wondered why Jesus handpicked Peter, James, and John as the inner circle? Of the twelve, and one was the traitor Judas, the trio, Peter, James and John were privy to the council on the mount of transfiguration where Moses and Elijah met up with Jesus and God, Himself, spoke out of a cloud and said of Jesus: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him (KJV)
(You can read the full story in Matthew 17 and also in Mark 9.)
|Jesus helping Peter (Walking on water)|
Many theories exist to explain why the three were chosen but there was one that struck a chord with me. Because I feel strongly that each name, word, number and reference in the Bible is there for good reason and builds on the message God has for us, I took a look at the meaning of names for these thee disciples—Peter, James and John.
The name Peter, which is Cephas in Greek, an Aramiac name, means Stone. (Matthew 16:18, John 1:42) In Greek Peter looks like this:
Jesus was the One who changed Peter’s name from Simon (John 1:42.) There are many instances where God changes a person’s name in botht the Old and New Testament. If you are anything like me you might have wondered why.Why did Jesus change Simon’s name to “stone” or “rock”?
The name James, which is the Greek form common in New Testament times is from the Hebrew name Ya'aqov, otherwise what we know today as Jacob. You might already learn from Old Testament readings that the name Jacob means “supplanter.”
As an aside, after Jacob wrestled with the Angel of God at the river Jabbok, (Genesis 32: 29-30, and also referenced in Genesis 35:1-7 and Hosea chapter 12) the Angel changed his name from Jacob (supplanter) to Israel (which means “God strives” or “Prince with God”. Israel is, of course, the father of the nation of the same name today.)
Next let’s look at John, the disciple whom Jesus loved—at least that’s what John called himself in the Book of John. In Hebrew, John is Johann and its full meaning is: Yahweh Is Gracious, or Grace.
If we string the three names together of the three men chosen by Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration –Peter, James and John—it would read, Stone Supplanted (by) Grace.
This might seem like sheer nonsense to you, but I challenge you to continue our study on the significance of names in the Bible and, in this, perhaps could I be so bold as to ask you to consider a message (which already is stated quite clearly elsewhere in the Bible) that the names could further mean Law Supplanted (by) Grace?
Why do I say this? Next week we will look at the Law written on tablets of stone and study the imageries the Holy Spirit has used in the Bible. As an author, even as I write, I consider carefully the imageries I put forth in my stories. Certain images create different nuances and I wanted to make sure the images don’t go against the theme or “message” I have in my fiction.