Dear Peter Bjorn,
There were many names popular in Jesus’ day. Simon was on the top of the boy list for sure. Likewise, there were the popular names of 2011 when you were born. The top five were:
1. Jacob 2. Ethan 3. Michael 4. Jayden 5. William
I checked, and Peter didn’t even make the top 100 names of 2011. Even Sebastian was more popular than your name!
Now, the neat thing about the name ‘Peter’ in Jesus’ day is that it was not a name at all. There is no record of anybody being named ‘Peter’ — which was simply the common Greek word, ‘petros’, meaning “stone” or “rock.”
So, we have here a story of Jesus, God in human flesh, giving Simon a new, unique nickname “The Rock.” “You are Simon son of John. You will be called called ‘Rock.'”
Simon is one of only a few people who Jesus gave special nicknames to — and now you share this special name, Peter — “the Rock.” The other was the nickname given to James and John — ‘Boanerges,’ which means Sons of Thunder.
I think that’s a great honor. I hope you do, too.
Now, Jesus had a special reason for giving Simon the nickname “The Rock.” It was symbolic of the kind of leadership role and character qualities Simon would strive to exhibit in his life. More on that later.
For now, remember that you carry a special nickname chosen by our Lord and given to a foundational leader of the early church movement. Be proud.