Matthew 16:13 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.
Every day following Jesus was like school for the disciples. He was Teacher and there was something to learn. Students want to please the one that instructs them. It is a shot to the adrenalin and the ego to be told that you have the correct answer. To have the correct answer in following Jesus, it is about observation and a proper familiarity of the substance of His life and ministry. By the time of this interaction Peter had the chance to get in on both.
The non-million dollar question was “What is the word on the street about who I am?” Just being aware of what is the buzz is easy. Loose, general ideas about Jesus were like a dime a dozen due to all the would-be saviors or travelling rabbis out there in Palestine. Kind of like now with gurus of the day.
But to look beyond that with your own discernment, born of faith is another thing. Simon Peter was able to answer the million -dollar follow up question that came. “So now, beyond popular opinion, who am I to you?”
Peter’s answer is a birthing of God’s word about the Word. Jesus is the ultimate unveiling of the nature of God while being God Himself. As expressed in Christ, there were certain dimensions about this Jesus of Nazareth that could ultimately be known in the heart by the work of the Holy Spirit.
“You are the Messiah.” There had already been a long line of messiahs in the Old Testament. They were called kings of Israel. Those kings were anointed by priests to do the work of God. What makes Jesus different then? The word “the” is the operable term. Jesus had a unique kingship and Peter knew it to be that of the promised one. Jesus is the promised one that would have and bring special meaning to the world around Peter.
“The son of the living God.” To fully appreciate the heavenly connection, one would want to look at Psalms 2:12. In it’s day it was about the Davidic kingdom but it resonates prophetically.
Psalms 2:12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
In a pagan kingdom the king is considered the son of whatever god it is of the day. By Peter saying Jesus is the son of the living God he is saying that there is a heavenly context to His kingship because this God is not mute stone but living. Important distinction.
So my questions for you and I are these? Do we live like Jesus is alive? Does Jesus have meaning to us that is above the stone cold reality we too easily rely on?