Mark 3:16 — An Extraordinarily Ordinary Man
And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter),
Mark reveals to us a universal truth about God’s dealings with men. God uses ordinary men to accomplish extraordinary tasks. The disciples were ordinary, blue collar men. Some were fishermen. One was a tax-collector; anther was a tax-hater. Several owned small businesses. All had the ordinary education in the synagogue, and none considered themselves to be great. What made these men unique is found in verse thirteen. “And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him.” They came unto Jesus. They made themselves available and teachable. Because they were available, Christ did extraordinary things through them. For example, on the day of Pentecost, Peter preached, and 3,000 people were saved. The response to Peter’s sermon was extraordinary. What does all of this mean for you? You must make yourself available to do extraordinary things for God.
Christ gave Simon the name Kepha. Kepha is the Aramaic noun for stone or rock. John 1:42 says, “He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is translated Peter).” It is significant that Kepha is translated into Greek because names are not normally translated. One author writes, “It corresponds to Jewish custom to choose as titles words which somehow point to the promise in a particular situation and lay an obligation upon their bearer.”1
The Bible tells of one more name change. God has chosen you and given you a new name. Isaiah 62:2 says, “The nations will see your righteousness, And all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of the LORD will designate.” The new name is a sign of the promise that God will change our character and influence. In order for our name to be changed, we must follow Christ just as the disciples willingly followed Christ when He called.
When you make yourself available as a servant, God’s power can do amazing things through you. Your character can change so that you please God; your influence on others will change. Influence is a synonym of leadership. You may not have as broad an impact as a leader as Peter did, but as a Christian, you are a leader. You can influence those around you. If you are successful in influencing those around you, they will, in turn, influence others. You may not have multitudes follow you, but you can influence a small group of people. Are you willing to be available for God to use you in whatever way He chooses?
What are your thoughts on this verse?
Have you or someone you have known ever changed names? What was the reason?
Why was Peter’s name change so significant?
What does it mean that God has given you a new name?