40. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of those who heard John speak and followed him.41. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith to him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.42. He brought him therefore to Jesus; and Jesus, looking at him, said, Thou art Simon, the son of Jonah; thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, being interpreted, Peter.
40. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. The design of the Evangelist, down to the end of the chapter, is to inform us how gradually the disciples were brought to Christ. Here he relates about Peter, and afterwards he will mention Philip and Nathanael. The circumstance of Andrew immediately bringing his brother expresses the nature of faith, which does not conceal or quench the light, but rather spreads it in every direction. Andrew has scarcely a spark, and yet, by means of it, he enlightens his brother. Woe to our indolence, therefore, if we do not, after having been fully enlightened, endeavor to make others partakers of the same grace. We may observe in Andrew two things which Isaiah requires from the children of God; namely, that each should take his neighbor by the hand, and next, that he should say,
Come, let us go up into the mountain of the Lord,
and he will teach us, (Isaiah 2:3.)
For Andrew stretches out the hand to his brother, but at the same time he has this object in view, that he may become a fellow-disciple with him in the school of Christ. We ought also to observe the purpose of God, which determined that Peter, who was to be far more eminent, was brought to the knowledge of Christ by the agency and ministry of Andrew; that none of us, however excellent, may refuse to be taught by an inferior; for that man will be severely punished for his peevishness, or rather for his pride, who, through his contempt of a man, will not deign to come to Christ.
41. We have found the Messiah. The Evangelist has interpreted the Hebrew word Messiah (Anointed) by the Greek word Christ, in order to publish to the whole world what was secretly known to the Jews. It was the ordinary designation of kings, as anointing was observed by them as a solemn rite. But still they were aware that one King would be anointed by God, under whom they might hope to obtain perfect and eternal happiness; especially when they should learn that the earthly kingdom of David would not be permanent. And as God raised their minds, when subdued and weighed down by various calamities, to the expectation of the Messiah, so he more clearly revealed to them that his coming was at hand. The prediction of Daniel is more clear and forcible than all the rest, so far as relates to the name of Christ; for he does not, like the earlier Prophets, ascribe it to kings, but appropriates it exclusively to the Redeemer, (Daniel 9:25, 26.) Hence this mode of expression became prevalent, so that when the Messiah or Christ was mentioned, it was understood that no other than the Redeemer was meant. Thus we shall find the woman of Samaria saying, the Messiah will come, (John 4:25;) which makes it the more wonderful that he who was so eagerly desired by all, and whom they had constantly in their mouths, should be received by so small a number of persons.
42. Thou art Simon. Christ gives a name to Simon, not as men commonly do, from some past event, or from what is now perceived in them, but because he was to make him Peter, (a stone.) First, he says, Thou art Simon, the son of Jonah. He repeats the name of his father in an abridged form; which is common enough when names are translated into other languages; for it will plainly appear from the last chapter that he was the son of Johanna or John. But all this amounts to nothing more than that he will be a very different person from what he now is. For it is not For the sake of honor that he mentions his father; but as he was descended from a family which was obscure, and which was held in no estimation among men, Christ declares that this will not prevent him from making Simon a man of unshaken courage. The Evangelist, therefore, mentions this as a prediction, that Simon received a new name. I look upon it as a prediction, not only because Christ foresaw the future steadfastness of faith in Peter, but because he foretold what he would give to him. He now magnifies the grace which he determined afterwards to bestow upon him; and therefore he does not say that this is now his name, but delays it till a future time.
Thou shalt be called Cephas. All the godly, indeed, may justly be called Peters (stones,) which, having been Sounded on Christ, are fitted for building the temple of God; but he alone is so called on account of his singular excellence. Yet the Papists act a ridiculous part, when they substitute him in the place of Christ; so as to be the foundation of the Church, as if he too were not founded on Christ along with the rest of the disciples; and they are doubly ridiculous when out of a stone they make him a head. For among the rhapsodies of Gratian there is a foolish canon under the name of Anacletus, who, exchanging a Hebrew word for a Greek one, and not distinguishing the Greek word kephale (kephale) from the Hebrew word Cephas, thinks that by this name Peter was appointed to be Head of the Church. Cephas is rather a Chaldaic than a Hebrew word; but that was the customary pronunciation of it after the Babylonish captivity. There is, then, no ambiguity in the words of Christ; for he promises what Peter had not at all expected, and thus magnifies his own grace to all ages, that his former condition may not lead us to think less highly of him, since this remarkable appellation informs us that he was made a new man.