July 20, 2020

John 1:42 Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

There is a footnote in my Bible after “Peter” which reads “Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) both mean rock.” Earlier in verse 38 the writer felt the need to explain another word for the readers: “They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means ‘Teacher’).” The common spoken language in Palestine in the first century was Aramaic, a language similar to Hebrew but not the same. The common written language of the first Century was Greek. Though the Old Testament was almost completely written in Hebrew, many people knew best its Greek translation called the Septuagint. Apparently, the first readers of this gospel could easily have had language issues. There was a movie several years ago now entitled “Lost in translation.” It had to do with lives, not words, that had elements lost as they navigated time and distance. Peter here is getting not only a name translation but a life translation. He would still be the same person but in a different form or context or expression. Does your faith translate? You know what it means to you but is it expressed in a way that others would understand it as you do? Peter could have his name changed in a moment but becoming that revised person was a lifelong process for him. Where are you in your process of translation? 


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