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. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
‘Who do people say the son of man is?’ I think Jesus must have known the answer He would get, but He wanted the disciples to say it out loud. The disciples report the general reaction—which tells us a good deal about the way Jesus was perceived by the people. And how was Jesus perceived by the crowds, like one of the prophets, who had stood up and spoken God’s word fearlessly against wicked and rebellious kings. Jesus was acting as a prophet: not simply ‘one who foretells the future’, but one who was God’s mouthpiece against injustice and wickedness in high places.
The phrase ‘son of God’ does not mean ‘the second person of the Trinity’. There was no thought yet that the coming king would Himself be divine—though some of the things Jesus was doing and saying must already have made the disciples puzzled. The phrase ‘son of God’ was a biblical phrase, indicating God’s special representative.
Now we get to hear the disciples’ thoughts about Jesus and Peter is very insightful.
Because of the depth and nature of Peter’s insight Jesus gives him the next level of understanding.
When was the last time you made an observation and the impact of making the insight was to gain deeper understanding of a person or situation. The power of questions is really quite incredible. I find that great questions of the scripture are imperative to my growth. Three questions I commonly use when reading the Bible are: What did the passage of Scripture mean to the original hearers, what does it mean to the church today and then what does it mean to me? All too often we ask what it means to me first and we can tend to miss the real meaning as a result. SO next time you’re reading the Scripture ask these three questions and you will find you will get deeper in God’s Word and understand your Father in heaven more as a result.
Father, help us to read Your Word with increasing depth.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta