The name Cephas was quite normal in ancient times, which explains why it appears close to 8 times in the bible. Contrary to common belief, the name Cephas is of Aramaic origin and not Hebrew. Perhaps the most famous quotation for the name was when Jesus referred to Peter, one of his twelve disciples as Cephas. Let’s take a quick look at Cephas and its significance in the bible.
What’s the significance of Cephas in the bible?
Most Christians who are familiar with the story of Jesus Christ also know all about the colorful life of Simon Peter. The latter is arguably the most notable of all of his disciples. He may not have been perfect, but Jesus chose him nonetheless. Today, there’s so much we can learn from apostle Simon peter, or Cephas if you must.
One of those lessons is that one doesn’t have to be perfect to be chosen. Simon Peter, who was a fisherman at the time he was called by Jesus, wasn’t known for his cultured behavior. Just like many fishermen in the time, he was uneducated and used vulgar language most of the time.
But, after Jesus chose him, Simon peter accepted his call and did the most when it came to spreading the gospel after Jesus was gone.
While Christianity was always associated with Jewish people, Simon Peter showed everyone else that even non-Jews could become strong Christians. Like I mentioned earlier, he wasn’t perfect, but with time, he acknowledged his maturity, especially in the presence of Jesus. He also urges others to be like babies who crave spiritual milk.
Another great lesson that Christians can learn from Simon Peter is the importance of learning from our mistakes. You see, unlike many other people, Simon peter made many mistakes. For instance, he tried to walk on water like Jesus without having the proper faith in Him, which almost resulted in his drowning. Also, Cephas denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed.
The latter goes to show that Cephas was only human and was bound to make mistakes, either because he was fearful or because of sheer ignorance. But instead of being a coward, Cephas took responsibility and bounced back. As I mentioned a few times earlier, he was responsible for spreading the gospel to different parts of the world, a task that eventually led to the loss of his life.
Are Peter and Cephas the same?
Yes, they are.
Who gave Peter the name Cephas in the bible?
According to the scriptures, it was Jesus who gave peter the name Cephas. The latter happened when Jesus mentioned that peter would be the rock upon which he’ll build his church. He also changed his name from peter to ‘petros’, which is loosely translated as ‘the rock’ in the ancient Greek tongue. Cephas also means rock but in ancient Aramaic.
It all happened one day when John and two of Jesus’ disciples saw Jesus and decided to follow him, referring to him as the lamb of God. Jesus saw them following him and stopped before asking them what it was they were looking for. They replied by telling Jesus they’d like to know where he was staying.
Jesus invited them over and they never left his side. Andrew also heard of the messiah and went to see him. Later, Andrew came back and found his brother Simon Peter and told him of the good news about finding the messiah. Andrew took Simon Peter to Jesus. Once Jesus saw Simon Peter, he called him out saying, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas.” – John 1:42.
Apostle Simon Peter would carry on to use the name Cephas after Jesus’ ascension to heaven. Peter was also referred to as Cephas in 1stCorinthians when he and his followers were going around establishing the church in Corinth.
You’ll also find the name Cephas used in the following verses: 1stCorinthians 3:22, John 1:42, 1stCorinthians 1:12, Galatians 2:9, 1 Corinthians 15:5, Galatians 2:11, and Galatians 1:18
Is the name Cephas of Hebrew or Aramaic origin?
The name Cephas is of Aramaic origin which means ‘rock’.
How did Cephas die?
Preaching the gospel during those times was a dangerous affair, especially when the most powerful people such as the Pharisees were always against the new teachings of Jesus. That and the fact that Cephas was a gentile didn’t make things any easier for him. So, the latter resulted in the persecution of Cephas.
He was jailed, ridiculed, and beaten. And when those in power realized they couldn’t break his soul, they decided to crucify him. Cephas made one last request that he should be crucified upside down since he didn’t consider himself fit to be crucified the way they did Jesus. His request was granted.
Cephas died in Rome sometime between 64 and 68 A.D., just around the time when the Great Fire of Rome happened.