Called By Name
by Impact Church
“Simon, son of John…”
John 21: 15, 16, 17
Nothing is more personal than being called by your name. It is a sign of an intimate relationship when someone knows you well enough to do so. Titles and salutations create a role differential, which can honor one’s position, but it doesn’t denote the closeness that a first name conveys. Our friends might have called us by a nickname. By contrast, most of us learned we were in trouble when our parents called us by our full name. The worst is when people talk to you and won’t even acknowledge your name or only do so when they are angry or issuing a judgment. You can know real love, when those who love you make it a point to call you by the name that defines you or encourages you into who you are.
Three times Jesus said, “Simon, son John”. Those words marked the beginning of Peter’s call to be a disciple and then an apostle and they framed the most intimate words of reconciliation after Peter denied Jesus three times. Muted by his denials, Peter silently hurries to the tomb with John to see that Mary’s words were true. Once he saw it for himself, Peter goes silent when the Lord appears until he’s back in Galilee and says, “I’m going fishing.”
“Simon, son of John”. “John” means Grace. As the Lord Jesus thrice asked him if he loved Him, he referred to him as “Simon, son of John”, or, “Simon, son of Grace”. The mark of a shepherd’s love is to address the identity of the estranged sheep and woo him back home. Jesus called Simon by his most intimate name and rather than confront him for his sinful failure, which grieved the future leader of the church, He offered him a chance to affirm his love and confirm upon him the care of His Church.
Our pastors exhibit this kind of life affirming, grace enabled love. Remember to thank God for their life and service and pray for their refreshment. They are preparing a feast for us!