Jesus was travelling with his disciples and had come into the district of Caesarea Philippi. He asked his disciples a simple question. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13).
People had heard Jesus teach, they had seen him heal the sick, and they had witnessed other miracles. What conclusion had the people come to regarding who Jesus really was? The disciples replied that some people thought he was John the Baptist. Others thought he was Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets.
Jesus had another question for them. “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). This is getting more personal now. Peter, we are told, was the one to reply on behalf of the disciples. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
This was a bold answer, direct and to the point. Peter was in no doubt at that instant. Jesus was the Christ. He was the Messiah. He was the Son of the living God. He was the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to the nation. How did Peter know? How did the other disciples know this?
Jesus’ reply tells us. “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).
As questions go, it is a great one. When it was asked of Peter and the other apostles, Jesus told them that his church would be built on that confession of faith by Peter. The church would begin in Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost, and would expand into all the world.
However, the question continues to be asked, and each one of us needs to give an answer. The question is for you, right here, and right now. Jesus asks, “But who do you say that I am?” We must individually confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, or we must reject him, because on that confession the church continues to be built.
“… at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). Colin R. Vine