Peter’s confession of the Messiah

Jesus and the apostles travelled up to Caesarea Philippi, in the far north of Palestine. While there, Jesus asked the apostles who they believed him to be. Peter, probably speaking for the group, replied that he was the promised Messiah, the Son of God (Matt 16:13-16).

Delighted at this insight, Jesus told the group (through words addressed to their spokesman Peter) that they would be the foundation on which he would build his church, and no power would be able to conquer it (Matt 16:17-18; cf. Eph 2:20). By preaching the gospel they would open the kingdom to all who wished to enter. They would carry Jesus’ authority with them, so that the things they did on earth in his name would be confirmed in heaven (Matt 16:19; cf. Acts 2:32; 3:6,16,19). But that was still in the future. For the present they were to support him in his ministry, but they were not to proclaim his messiahship openly till the appointed time had come (Matt 16:20).

Jesus then made it clear that in order to fulfil his messianic ministry, he had to suffer, die and rise again. Peter’s objection to this showed that the apostles still did not understand the true nature of the Messiah’s work. The suggestion that Jesus should turn back from the cross was yet another temptation by Satan. It was an attempt to persuade him to gain his kingdom by some way other than death, and so cause him to fail in the very thing he came to do (Matt 16:21-23; cf. 4:8-10).

Privacy Policy