SO WHO EXACTLY IS THIS?
Holy Spirit, I want to be open to your empowering presence. Make my heart your home, I pray.
Read MATTHEW 16:13-20
Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWho do you say that Jesus is? Worship him now, beginning with Peter’s response in verse 16.
To committed Christians reading much later, Peter’s affirmation in verse 16 might seem like a statement of the blooming obvious. Jesus raised the dead, he’s walked on water: who do they think he can be? It is interesting, then, that Jesus does not simply acknowledge Peter’s right answer, especially after all the off-beam suggestions in verse 14 – and the determined skepticism of the religious leaders. Christian faith is not something which comes naturally to many human beings, however strong the evidence that Jesus really is someone in whom we can believe.
Jesus makes several statements in response to Peter. Each one is vital to a proper understanding of a Christian calling. First, Peter is blessed – not especially insightful or deserving – just blessed. Second, the truth is not something which has been worked out by Peter himself, but is a treasure revealed by God. (Perhaps this partly explains verse 20. God will decide when and how to reveal his Son.) Third, this revelation is the foundation of Christ’s saving work in history, his church; and that church will be strong. Finally, the knowledge that Jesus is The Christ is infinitely empowering, beyond anything these disciples have ever imagined.
How can we more firmly hold on to verse 16? Practice declaring what Peter declares at the beginning and end of your prayer times.
Lord, I bow before the mystery of Jesus, fully God and fully human. I don’t fully understand all this, but I am amazed at your sovereign ways, working for my redemption.
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