Scripture To Consider:
“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So, they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'”

“Jesus answered and said to Peter, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.” Matthew 16.13-20

Something To Consider:
At Caesarea Philippi, in the secluded regions of northern Galilee, relieved for a time from the attacks of His enemies and the interruptions of the crowds, Jesus at least found an opportunity to be alone with His disciples. And it was then that He reached the climax of His teaching concerning His divine person. It was then also that He began His teaching concerning His atoning work.

For nearly three years, by parable and miracle, by Scripture reference and by daily messages, Jesus had revealed Himself to His disciples as the Messiah, the predicted King, and the Son of God. To discover how far they had come in learning the lesson, or to impress it upon them more deeply, He asked them two questions. First, He asked, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man am?” Their answer is unsatisfactory but a kind response.

They might have replied that many regarded Jesus as a fanatic, an imposter, even a glutton and a drunkard. But they were too considerate for that. They replied that the men of His day regarded Him as a great prophet, in fact, a reincarnation of one of the greatest prophets. It is exactly the answer the world is still giving today of who Jesus was and is. Many claim Jesus to have been a man, the best of men, a man who spoke for God, but still just a man. That same question must be answered correctly I pray, by all before our leaving planet earth. And that is indeed something to consider!

Such a reply did not meet the approval of our Lord, and it never does. And so, He asked His second question. “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, and he spoke for his fellow disciples and for true believers in all ages to come, when he declared boldly, “You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God.” By proclaiming Jesus, to be the Christ, the Anointed One, Peter of course meant the predicted Messiah, the Redeemer, and the Savior of the world. Is that our answer also? And if not, what hope do we have?

By Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Son of God, he claimed Jesus to far exceed John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or any of the great prophets and all of the saints of all ages. And we are right in taking the phrase upon our lips to denote a Being who, while truly was a man, was and is truly God; a unique Being in whose unseen presence we can trust, before who each of us can fall down in reverence to exclaim, as did Thomas, “My Lord, and my God.”

Therefore, Jesus pronounces a blessing upon Peter, by stating, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” This blessing transforms Peter’s great confession into Christ’s great kingdom claim. Jesus accepted the homage and declared that only divine illumination could have enabled Peter to utter those words.

Thus, the deity of Christ is a divinely revealed biblical truth. If one does not see this reality, we are not to despise him or her and not to argue with them. We may pity them while praying for them, but we have no right to judge them. And if they continue to hear the word of truth, like Peter, they too may come to worship Jesus as their own Lord, Savior, and soon coming King of kings.

Something Else To Consider:
This following truth is also a fundamental truth, according to Jesus. “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church.” Jesus is not saying He will build His church upon Peter, but on the Peter-like confession of the deity of Christ; and not a confession of anyone’s own reason, but upon Peter or anyone else confessing their acceptance of the truth which God has revealed to their heart, mind, and soul.

Upon such a man, woman, or young person, the true church was founded. And it is upon such confession by revelation that the church of all ages will be composed. Such a church is imperishable, so much so, that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. To such of this church who confess this knowledge of Christ, God gives the power of opening to others His kingdom and of revealing to them what is permitted and what is forbidden in the kingdom.

Such possibly is the meaning of the further promise which Christ gives to Peter, “And I will give to you keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Matthew then records, “Then Jesus commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.” Why this strange prohibition? Could it have been that Jesus knew the multitude was not ready for the truth, and that they would have misunderstood His claims? Only when His work was complete, only then did His disciples, guided by the Holy Spirit whom Jesus had promised would come, only then could His disciples properly proclaim the truth concerning Jesus’ divine person. And that is a living lesson to us and all who come after us.

Something More To Consider:
Jesus is still asking the same question He asked His early disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” Many to this day still claim Jesus is a great prophet like unto John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah, or a great teacher. But if He is not Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God, then He is a liar and therefore, not a great teacher or true prophet. Either Jesus is who He claims to be and who the bible‘s evidence proves Him to be, or He is the world’s worst imposter. But that He is not!

And yet, understanding Jesus to be nothing less than the Christ, the Son of the living God, as well as God of the living, is only revealed to us by our Father in heaven and that through the Holy Spirit. Jesus declared in John 15.26, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”

This spiritual revelation comes much like Romans 8.16-17 acknowledges, “The Spirit [the Holy Spirit] Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him [with Jesus], that we may also be glorified together.” Should the words, “…if indeed we suffer with Him“, create a whole different understanding of the majority of feel-good messages being proclaimed from the many so-called religious churches of this 21st century generation? According to Jesus, “Take heed that no one deceives you.”

A Few Final Words:
So, Peter’s Holy Spirit revealed and inspired confession of Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”, was due to direct and divine revelation from heaven by way of the Holy Spirit, and a willingness of Peter to voice what the Father had allowed to be revealed. Therefore, are we willing to declare what the Father through the Holy Spirit has revealed to us in and through the written Word of God? Or are we condemning ourselves by our silence at it relates to the goodness of God and the truth of His Word?

Jesus claimed of Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Jesus continued by stating, “And I also say [further claim] to you that you are Peter, and on this rock [on this divinely revealed and humanly proclaimed confession] on this rock I [Jesus] will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Jesus claimed that upon Peter’s rock-like faith induced and revealed by the Holy Spirit confession of Christ, that He, Jesus, would build His church. And so, we are reminded as to whose church the true church is. It is Christ’s church and not preachers, priests, or hirelings in religious appearing disguise. And it is not owned by the denominational or non-denominationalist church or the highly regarded Catholic church or any other humanly devised so-called church system. Man may hold claim to ownership of the false church all he or she wants, but of the true Christ established church of the New Testament, Jesus claims divine ownership.

The writer of Hebrews wrote an entire chapter devoted to the faith of Old Testament saints. In chapter 11, and in verse 6, we are warned, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him [God], for he [or she] who comes to God must believe that He [God] is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Peter believed Jesus to be the Son of the living God. What is it that we believe concerning Jesus?

In Closing:
Do our lives, do our actions, do our daily decisions confess Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God? If so, Jesus’ great kingdom claims of divine revelation from the Father, His claim of Hades not prevailing against His church, and His granting us power to bind and to loosen both good and evil on earth, should mean a great deal from a true end time 21st century Christian’s perspective. What is it we can honestly claim and not be denied by Christ when finally in His presence?

Let’s Pray:
Our Father in heaven, thank You for the preserved written record of Peter’s divinely inspired confession of Jesus Christ. And thank You Father for the biblically revealed revelation of Jesus Christ’s great kingdom claims that are so relevant to us today as we attempt with the help of the Holy Spirit to endure to the end of our lives or to the end of this age exemplifying and honoring our Lord Jesus Christ. In Him Always, Amen!

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