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Examine Scripture

2 Peter 1:1-2

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What’s in a Name?…

Today, we begin to look at 2 Peter:

“Symeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of equal value to ours through the righteousness of our God and savior Jesus Christ: may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”  -2 Peter 1:1-2, NAB

Yesterday, we wrapped up our study of 1 Peter, and today, we move onto 2 Peter.  Like many of the New Testament letters, it begins with an introduction.  The first verse quickly tells us who wrote the letter, and it was Simon Peter, our first pope.

So, what was his name?  Was it Simon or Peter?  Well, his name was Simon, but it was Jesus who renamed him Peter.  Many people find this strange that Jesus renamed Peter, but in a lot of ways, it was like giving him a nickname to go by.  That seems much less strange.  We can learn more about it in Matthew.  Jesus tells Peter:

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  -Matthew 16:18, NAB

This one verse is a large part of the Scriptural basis for the office of the pope.  Here, Jesus tells Simon, whom He know calls Peter, that He will use him to build up the Church.  Peter means “rock,” and Jesus is essentially saying, “You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my Church.”  More than just a nickname, Jesus is sharing with us His master plan when He calls Simon the “Rock.”

So, what’s in a name?  A name can mean so much more than what we see on the surface.  In the case of Peter, his name is the very foundation of the Catholic Church.

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