Thursday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: St. Matthew 16:13-20 (NKJV)
16:13 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.
“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.'”
The answers given to Jesus’ question of identity indicate two things. First, it seems that most regarded Him highly, putting Him in the company of the greatest of Old and New Testament prophets. Second, we see that is the “ceiling” of their description. They are willing to elevate Jesus as a great prophet, maybe even the best of them all, but that’s it. Jesus may be the greatest of men, but certainly not the God-man.
But when the disciples are asked for their conclusion, Peter gives this response: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter crosses the line which separates adoration from elevation. Any other answer, however laudable it may be, comes up short. Impetuous Peter, who was known for his quick tongue, which often got him into trouble, comes through this time with flying colors. Or did he? “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.'” It may have been Peter’s voice that spoke, but it was God who revealed to him the right confession.
We pray: “Lord Jesus, Thou the Church’s Head, Thou art her one Foundation; in Thee she trusts, before Thee bows, and waits for Thy salvation. Built on this Rock secure, Thy Church shall endure even though the world decay and all things pass away. Oh hear, oh, hear us, Jesus!” (TLH 477:1)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.