Thursday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: St. Matthew 16:13-20 (NKJV)
13 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?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 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. 19 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.” 20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.
In our passage today we have St. Peter’s confession, his declaration that Jesus of Nazareth is the “Christ.” It is a wonderful moment in the life of the disciples, and it is a declaration that we, of course, agree with. We agree with St. Peter that Jesus, Who was born in the village of Nazareth, the son of Mary and adopted son of Joseph, is the “Christ.” We declare that to be true as well. But what does “Christ” mean? We often say “Jesus Christ” as the name of this man from Nazareth, and that is perfectly correct since that is how even the biblical writers begin to use these two words, “Jesus Christ,” as a name. But originally “Christ” was a title, and it was used in the phrase “Jesus the Christ” or, “You are the Christ,” like Peter says here.
“Christ” comes from the Greek word which means “anointed.” It is the equivalent of the Hebrew word for “Messiah.” “Messiah” and “Christ” mean the same thing, to be anointed. So what does it mean that Jesus is the Anointed One? It means He is the chosen and blessed One of God. The Son of God was chosen before all eternity to be the One Who would redeem and save all of mankind.
Jesus had the blessing of the Father to do this work on behalf of the world. And God told His people for a long time that they would be rescued by this “blessed and chosen one,” and that He would come when the time was right. We say with St. Peter that He is the Christ. He is the One we hope in and turn to. He is the One Who will save us, and has saved us. He is the Christ.