John 1:42

42 He brought Simon [a] to Jesus, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter [b] ).

John 1:42 Meaning and Commentary

John 1:42

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 F11, 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 F12.


F11 Vid. Targum in Psal. xl. 3. & Prov. xvii. 8. T. Bab. Ceritot, fol. 6. 1. & Gloss. in ib. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 63. 2.
F12 Toldos Jesu, p. 20, 21, 22, 23.

John 1:42 In-Context

40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed ).
42 He brought 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 ).
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me."
44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Gk [him]
  • [b]. From the word for [rock] in Aramaic ([kepha]) and Greek ([petra]), respectively