“Jesus replied, ‘You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.’” (Matthew 16:17-18)
Reginald Kenneth Dwight changed his name to Elton John. Peter Gene Hernandez changed his name to Bruno Mars. Eric Marlon Bishop changed his name to Jamie Foxx. And Mark Sinclair Vincent became Vin Diesel.
It’s common for celebrities to change their name to further their career—no big deal. But in Matthew 16, Jesus himself changed Simon’s name, and when Jesus changes your name, it’s a very big deal. It isn’t just a change of name, it’s a change of identity.
Here’s the story. Jesus and the disciples were walking along one day, and Jesus asked them who people said he was. They said people thought Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or some other prophet. Then Jesus got to the heart of the question—who did the disciples think he was?
Simon quickly answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus told Simon that his answer came through a revelation from God. Simon didn’t figure it out for himself. He didn’t learn it from a friend or a rabbi. No, God himself revealed Jesus’s identity to Simon.
When we have a revelation of Jesus’s identity, it changes our identity. Revelation gives us mission, purpose, and confidence about who we are in Christ. Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter. Simon was a fisherman, but Peter was a fisher of men. Simon lived a quiet life on the Sea of Galilee, but Peter possessed the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Simon was often unstable, but Peter was solid as a rock.
Peter’s identity, purpose, and mission was tied to his revelation of Jesus’s identity. In Ephesians 1:17, Paul prays for God to give all Christians everywhere a personal revelation of Christ so each of us can comprehend who Jesus is—savior, redeemer, healer, protector, provider. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He is the beginning and the end. Jesus is the lion of Judah and the light of the world. Everything we could ever need is embodied in Jesus Christ.
We all need a personal revelation of the majesty and glory of Jesus. We need this revelation from God—not from our pastor or our parents, but straight from God. We need a revelation of Jesus’s virgin birth, his perfect life, the miracles he performed, and the passion of the cross. We need a revelation of the power that raised Jesus from the dead, the same supernatural power that inhabits his followers.
When we really grasp the identity of Jesus, our identity changes. A revelation of Jesus shows us our purpose and our mission. If your revelation of Jesus has grown dim, pray for fresh anointing. Revelation is offered freely to everyone who seeks it.
Dear God, I ask you today to refresh my revelation of who Jesus really is. I know he is the son of the living God. I know Jesus paid the price for my forgiveness and my freedom. Immerse my identity, purpose, and mission in the identity of Christ. In the name of Jesus, amen.