Lenten Devotional: Friday, March 8

Psalm 95Psalm 31Psalm 35; Deuteronomy 7:12-16Titus 2:1-15John 1:35-42

The next day (the day after John baptized Jesus), John (the Baptist) was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God! The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus… one of the two (disciples) was Andrew …who brought his brother Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” which is translated Peter. John 1:35-42

What’s in a name? Some of us find pleasure, comfort and identity in our names. Our names seem to say “this is who I am”. Maybe I’m named for one or more members of my family or perhaps for a favorite flower or pastime. Many of us are inspired to be better persons because of our names.

Today’s passage gives us two names, Lamb of God and Cephas. God brings adversity to the Egyptian people because His spokesman Moses’ appeals to the Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go are denied. Lamb of God, the name by which John the Baptist calls Jesus, refers to the Passover Lamb, perfect and unblemished, sacrificed to mark the homes of Hebrews who will be spared the horrible, gruesome annihilation of the Egyptian firstborn just before the exodus began. God gave His Son, the most perfect and unblemished, for the ultimate sacrifice to free His people from sin. We see the Lamb of God images in stained glass windows, icons, paintings, Bible story books and we immediately know the Lamb is Jesus. He can be called Anointed, Messiah, Rabbi, but we think Jesus. It is several years after Jesus met Peter before we know why Jesus renamed Simon. Cephas (Peter) means rock, a strong foundation. Peter stumbled, made mistakes, fell asleep on the job, was human in every way. He, who endearingly represented “everyman” in his apostolic life, knew Jesus was, “truly the Son of God”.

During these weeks of Lent, by whatever name we are known, may we dwell on God’s great love for us and how we can reflect that great love.