GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus
Following from Jesus’ rebuke of the religious leaders, who were contaminating (yeast in bread) the whole of Israel and its religious system and understanding of the Old Testament, now the scene shifts back to the disciples in the shadow of Mt. Herman and near the Jordan River. The disciples and Peter, as a spokesman for the disciples, are asked directly as to the identity of Jesus. Just as the disciples had earlier exclaimed Jesus as the Son of God (14:33), now Peter joined in. Jesus unequivocally affirms that Jesus is God and is from His Father in heaven.
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,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
1. Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ. This affirmation cannot be overemphasized. Jesus was and is the One foretold and promised from the lineage of Adam, from Abraham, from David, and the Chief Prophet, the promised Redeemer of all who would believe. All of Israel, and even history, was now pointed toward this place and time, and Peter, speaking for and with the disciples, answers correctly and directly.
2. Jesus is the Son of the living God. Not only is Jesus the promised Messiah, the one from God who will bless and redeem all who believe, he is the Son of God. As such, He is the source of life as designed and intended by God.
3. Peter, the rock, upon whom the church is built. With a play on words, Peter from Petros, which means rock, Jesus predicts the foundation of the church, which will be not only Peter. The fullest New Testament picture of the foundation of the church includes not only Peter but the apostles and prophets with Jesus as the cornerstone, the ministry laborers of the church, and all who follow Jesus as “living stones.” This, then, is not an affirmation of the Catholic errors as to the papacy but a further prediction of the soon-coming inception, life and growth of the church.
Ephesians 2:20 – Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
1 Corinthians 3:9 – For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
1 Peter 2:5 – you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
This, then, is a prediction and a promise, with a warning. It is the surety of the coming church, which will have the name and power of the living God, and Jesus, the son of God, as Messiah, as One who died, was buried and rose again. The warning is that the fullest announcement is premature. “Then he warned them not to tell anyone He was the Christ.” We learn later that it was not yet the “fullness of time.”
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[a] 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[b] Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:4-7.
The story of the life of Jesus now quickens its pace with the progressive revelation of His authority, His works and His message. It is not surprising, but I am sure shocking to some, that Jesus now announces for the first time his suffering, death and resurrection, which is the heart of the Biblical message and certainly a sequel to our Christmas and New Year celebrations.
— John MooreP