John 1:42
And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
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(42) Beheld.—See Note on John 1:29.

A Stone.—Better, Peter, as in margin. The word means a stone, but the writer translated for Greek, not for English readers. The rule of the previous verse, which places the Greek word in the text and the English word in the margin, should be followed here.

Cephas.—The word occurs only in this place in the Gospels, elsewhere in the New Testament only in St. Paul (1 Cor. and Gal.). Remembering the general significance of Hebrew names, the changes in the Old Testament as of Abram, Sarai, and Jacob, and among these first disciples as of James and John (Mark 3:16; Mark 3:18), all these names of Peter seem meant to characterise the man,—“Thou art now Hearer, the Son of Jehovah’s Grace; thou shalt be called and be a Rock-man.” (Comp. Note on Matthew 16:17.)

1:37-42 The strongest and most prevailing argument with an awakened soul to follow Christ, is, that it is he only who takes away sin. Whatever communion there is between our souls and Christ, it is he who begins the discourse. He asked, What seek ye? The question Jesus put to them, we should all put to ourselves when we begin to follow Him, What do we design and desire? In following Christ, do we seek the favour of God and eternal life? He invites them to come without delay. Now is the accepted time, 2Co 6:2. It is good for us to be where Christ is, wherever it be. We ought to labour for the spiritual welfare of those related to us, and seek to bring them to Him. Those who come to Christ, must come with a fixed resolution to be firm and constant to him, like a stone, solid and stedfast; and it is by his grace that they are so.Cephas - This is a Syriac word, meaning the same as the Greek word Peter, a stone. See the notes at Matthew 16:17. The stone, or rock, is a symbol of firmness and steadiness of character - a trait in Peter's character after the ascension of Jesus that was very remarkable. before the death of Jesus he was rash, headlong, variable; and it is one proof of the omniscience of Jesus that he saw that Peter "would" possess a character that would be expressed appropriately by the word "stone" or "rock." The word "Jonas" is a Hebrew word, whose original signification is a "dove." It may be that Jesus had respect to that when he gave Simon the name Peter. "You now bear a name emblematic of timidity and inconstancy. You shall be called by a name denoting firmness and constancy." 42. brought him to Jesus—Happy brothers that thus do to each other!

beheld him—fixed his eyes on him, with significant gaze (as Joh 1:36).

Cephas … stone—(See on [1762]Mt 16:18).

Andrew having found his brother Simon, conducts him to Jesus. Andrew, and Simon, and Philip were citizens of Bethsaida, John 1:44, which was a city of Galilee; how near to the place where John baptized, or Christ lodged, we cannot say. Probably Simon was one of John’s disciples, and came to attend his ministry; so as the disciples only sought him in the crowd, and came with him to Christ. When Christ beheld him, he said,

Thou art Simon; he knew him, and called him by name, and told him his father’s name,

Jonas, and giveth him a new name,

Cephas, which by interpretation doth not signify a head, (as the popish disputant at Berne urged, to prove him the head of the church, as if it had been a Greek word, and came from kefalh; or, as he pretended, ridiculously enough, from an old Greek word, kefav), but a stone (as this text tells us); by which name we find him called, 1 Corinthians 1:12 3:22 9:5 15:5 Galatians 2:9: in other places Peter, which signifieth a stone also, or a rock. Cephas is a Syriac word, Peter a Greek word: Christ gave him the name. Both Cephas and Peter are by interpretation, a stone. Beza thinks that our Saviour did not here give him that name, but foretell that he should be so called. Casaubon thinks that the name was here given to him, and with it a new spirit; that whereas before he was (according to his father’s name Jonas, which signifies a dove) fearful and timorous, from this time forward he was as a rock, steady, firm, and full of courage and constancy: but it is a greater question how this text is to be reconciled with Matthew 4:18-20, where Andrew and Peter are both said to be espied by Christ, walking by the sea of Galilee; and Luke 5:10, where Simon is reported to be called after they had taken a great draught of fish; and with Mark 3:13, and Luke 6:13, where all the apostles are named as called at one and the same time. Doubtless the calls were different. This in John seems rather to be a prophecy than a call. Those texts, Matthew 4:18-20, and Luke 5:10, seem to be their calls to a discipleship. The other texts, Mark 3:13 Luke 6:13, respect their election to the apostleship, and the mission of them.

And he brought him to Jesus,.... That is, Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus; he persuaded him to go along with him, and showed him where he was; which discovered great zeal for Christ, being desirous of, gaining souls unto him; and great affection to his brother, being heartily concerned that he might know Christ, as well as he; nor did he choose that he should take up with the bare account that he gave of him, but would have him go to him himself, that he might be personally acquainted with him, and instructed by him: and this also shows the readiness and willingness of Simon, to see and hear Christ himself, and not sit down contented with the bare relation his brother gave: no doubt he found his heart stirred up within him, and the desires of his soul going after Christ; and therefore he at once rose up and went with Andrew to him; and thus one person may be the means of bringing another to Christ: and it may be observed, that Peter was not the first of the apostles that was called by Christ, or first knew him; Andrew was before him, and the means of bringing him into an acquaintance with him; had it been the reverse, the Papists would have improved it in favour of Peter, as the prince of the apostles: this clause is omitted in the Persic version,

And when Jesus beheld him; as he was coming, or come to him: he had beheld him before in the glass of his Father's purposes and decrees; he had viewed him in his blood, and said unto him, live; and he now looked upon him with a look of love, of complacency, and delight:

he said, thou art Simon, the son of Jona; thy name is Simon, and thy father's name is Jona: he knew both their names, though he might have never seen their faces, nor heard of them: this he said to give Simon a testimony of his omniscience; and which, no doubt, must strike him at once. Simon, or Simeon, was a common name among the Jews, being the name of one of the twelve patriarchs; see Gill on Matthew 10:2; and so likewise was Jona, being the name of a prophet of theirs; See Gill on Matthew 16:17; and inasmuch as the prophet Jonah was of Gathhepher in Zebulun, which was in Galilee; see Gill on John 7:52; this might be a common name among the Galilaeans; so that there seems no reason why it should be thought to be the same with John, as the Ethiopic version reads it, and by way of interrogation, "art thou not Simon the son of John?"

Thou shall be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, a stone; or Peter as it should rather be rendered; and as it is in the Vulgate Latin, and Ethiopic versions; and as "Cepha", or "Cephas", in the Syriac and Chaldee languages signifies a stone, or rock (k), so does "Peter" in Greek: hence, the Syriac version here gives no interpretation of the word. Christ not only calls Simon by his present name, at first sight of him, but tells him what his future name should be; and which imports, not only that he should be a lively stone in the spiritual building, the church, but should have a considerable hand in that work, and abide firm and steadfast to Christ, and his interest, notwithstanding his fall; and continue constant and immoveable until death, as he did. The Jews also, in their writings, call him Simeon Kepha (l),

(k) Vid. Targum in Psal. xl. 3. & Proverbs 17.8. T. Bab. Ceritot, fol. 6. 1. & Gloss. in ib. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 63. 2.((l) Toldos Jesu, p. 20, 21, 22, 23.

And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
John 1:42. εὑρίσκει οὗτος πρῶτος. If with T. R. and Tischendorf we read πρῶτος, the meaning is that Andrew, before John, found his brother; if with W.H[32] we read πρῶτον the meaning is that before Andrew did anything else, and perhaps especially before the other men afterwards named were called, he first of all finds his own brother. Reading πρῶτον, we cannot gather that John went in search also of his brother, and as there is no mention of him at this time the probability is that he was not at hand. πρῶτον is the note of warning that this was but the beginning of a series of calls.—εὑρήκαμεν τὸν Μεσσίαν. “We have found,” perhaps, as Weiss suggests, with reference to the expectations produced by the Baptist’s teaching. The result of their conversation with Jesus is summed up in these words. They were now convinced that He was the Christ. In Jewish lips “we have found the Messiah” was the most comprehensive of all Eurekas. That John gives the actual words, though he has immediately to translate one of them for his Greek readers, is not without significance in regard to his accuracy in reporting.

[32] Westcott and Hort.

42. beheld] Same word as in John 1:36, implying a fixed earnest look; what follows shews that Christ’s gaze penetrated to his heart and read his character.

Simon the son of Jona] The true reading here and John 21:15-17 is Simon the son of John. There is a tradition mat his mother’s name was Johanna. The Greek form Iônâ may represent two distinct Hebrew names, Jonah and Johanan = John. There is no need to make Christ’s knowledge of his name and parentage miraculous; Andrew in bringing Simon would naturally mention them.

A stone] The margin and text should change places, Peter, being in the text and ‘a stone’ in the margin, like ‘the Anointed’ in John 1:41. This new name is given with reference to the new relation into which the person named enters; comp. the cases of Abraham, Sarah, Israel. It points to the future office of Simon rather than to his present character. The form Cephas occurs nowhere else in the Gospels or Acts: but comp. 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:22; 1 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Corinthians 15:5, Galatians 1:18; Galatians 2:9; Galatians 2:11; Galatians 2:14.

There is no discrepancy between this and Matthew 16:18. Here Christ gives the name Peter; there he reminds S. Peter of it. It is quite clear from this that S. Peter was not first called among the Apostles, a point on which the Synoptists leave us in doubt.

John 1:42. Ἐμβλέψας, having gazed earnestly at him [fixing His eye upon him] An effectual look.—Σίμων ὁ υἱὸς Ἰωνᾶ, Simon, son of Jona) These names no one had told the Saviour: and so by this address by name He took complete possession of Peter; comp. John 1:48 [His similarly winning Nathanael by showing His omniscience, “Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.”]—Κηφᾶς, Cephas) Peter was ever afterwards called by this name, which is a Syriac one, especially when he was staying in Syria.

Verse 42. - He brought (the past tense) him to Jesus; as one entirely sympathetic and as eagerly longing for the Christ, for the Lamb of God, for the King of Israel. Seeing that Simon was found so soon - most probably on the evening of the memorable day - we gather that Simon also must have been among the hearers of John. He too must have left his fishing to listen to the Baptist. The entire group must have been drawn away from their ordinary avocations by the trumpet call of the preacher in the wilderness. Jesus looked - intently, with penetrating glance - upon him, and said, Thou art Simon, the Son of John - that is the name by which thou hast been introduced to me; a time is coming for thee to receive a new name - Thou shalt be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter). It is perfectly gratuitous of Baur and Hilgenfeld to imagine this to be a fictitious adaptation of the great scene recorded in Matthew 16. The solemn assertions made there proceed upon the assumption of the previous conference of the name "Peter." There the Lord said, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock," etc. On this earlier occasion Jesus said, "Thou art Simon, thou shalt be called Κηφᾶς." The assumption of the Tubingen critics, that a desire to lower Peter from his primacy is conspicuous in this passage, cannot be sustained. Though Andrew and John precede Peter in their earliest relations with Jesus, yet Peter is undoubtedly the most conspicuous character, to whom the Lord from the first gives an honourable cognomen (cf. also John 6:67-69 and John 21:15, etc.). (Compare here, for historic changes of name, Genesis 17:5; Genesis 32:28.) Weiss ('Life of Christ,' Eng. trans., 1:370) says admirably, "There is no ground for assuming that this is an anticipation of Matthew 16:18. Simon was not to bear this name until he was deserving of it. Jesus never called him anything but Simon (Mark 14:37; Matthew 17:25; Luke 22:31; John 21:15-17). Paul calls him by the names Peter and Cephas.... The evangelist is right when he beholds in this scene a more than human acumen. ... The history shows he was not deceived in Peter." This narrative cannot be a Johannine setting forth of the first call of the four disciples as given in the synoptists. If it be, it is a fictitious modification. Place, occasion, and immediate result are all profoundly different. The one narrative cannot be twisted into the other. Are the anti-harmonists correct in saying that they are irreconcilable? Certainly not. There is no indication that before John was cast into prison, before Jesus commenced his public ministry in Galilee, he had called disciples away from their ordinary duties to be his apostles. Some of these four may have returned, as Jesus himself did, to his family and domestic surroundings (John 2:12). John may have accompanied Jesus to Jerusalem and through Samaria. But there is much to make it probable that Simon, Andrew, and at least, were, during the whole of that period, on the lake pondering the future. Christ's solemn, sudden call to them to become "fishers of men," after a manifestation to them of his supernatural powers, presupposes rather than excludes this earlier interview. Simon, on that occasion, by the exclamation recorded (Luke 5:5), reveals an earlier acquaintance with and reverence for his ἐπιστάτης (see an admirable vindication of this position in Weiss, 'Life of Jesus,' vol. 1.). The Lord, in this first interview, penetrates and denominates the character of the most illustrious of his followers. His rocklike fortitude, which, though sorely assailed and chafed by the storms of the great sea of opinion and prejudice, formed the central nucleus of that Church against which the gates of hell have not prevailed. Our Lord implied the strength of his nature, even when he predicted his great fall (Luke 22:32). John 1:42Beheld

The same word as in John 1:36, on which see Rev., looked upon.

Thou art

Some read interrogatively: art thou.

Jona (Ιωνᾶ)

The correct reading is Ἱωάνου, of John.

A stone (Πέτρος)

See on Matthew 16:18. A detached mass of rock. Cephas is the Aramaic name, occurring 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:22; 1 Corinthians 9:5; 1 Corinthians 15:5; Galatians 2:9.

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