Day 19 – Peter understands who Jesus is

Bible reading: Matthew 16:13–23

Peter says who Jesus is

13 Jesus went into the part of the country near Caesarea Philippi. While he was there, he asked his disciples, ‘When people talk about the Son of Man, who do they say that he is?’

14 They replied, ‘Some people say that you are John the Baptist. Other people say that you are Elijah. And some other people say that you are Jeremiah, or another prophet of God.’

15 ‘But what do you think?’ Jesus asked them. ‘Who do you say that I am?’

16 Simon Peter answered him. ‘You are the Messiah. You are the Son of God, the God who lives for ever.’

17 Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, God has really helped you! No person on earth taught you that. God, my Father in heaven, has shown you this. 18 I tell you this. You are called Peter, which means a rock. And I will build my church on this rock. Not even the power of death will destroy my church. 19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. You will tell people here on earth what is right for them to do. And you will tell them what is not right for them to do. God in heaven will give you this authority. He will agree with what you say.’

16:19Jesus used a house that someone builds on a rock as a picture. The house is like the Church. The things that Peter would teach are like the stones under the house. The name ‘Peter’ means ‘a rock’. One day soon, Jesus would go back to live in heaven again. Then Peter would be a leader of the disciples to teach the people the true things about God. The people who obeyed Jesus' words would be called the Church.
16:19The people were waiting for God to send someone special to them. They called this person the Christ. Jesus knew that the people had wrong ideas about this person. They thought that he would save them from the Roman government. They thought that he would be a great soldier. So, Jesus wanted to teach the people what the Christ would really do. Then they would understand about the way in which God rules his people. They would also understand that Jesus is the Christ.

20 Then Jesus said strongly to his disciples, ‘Do not tell anyone that I am the Messiah.’

Jesus tells his disciples how he would die

21 After this, Jesus began to explain everything to his disciples. He told them, ‘I must go to Jerusalem. There, people will cause me to have great pain. The important Jews, the leaders of the priests, and the teachers of God's Law will hurt me. Then people will kill me. But three days later, God will cause me to become alive again.’

16:21Jesus told his disciples what would happen to him. This is the first time that he told them. But they did not understand his words.

22 Then Peter took Jesus away from the other disciples. He began to tell Jesus that he must not say things like that. ‘No, Lord! God will never let this happen to you!’ he said to Jesus.

23 Jesus turned round and said to Peter, ‘Satan, go away from me! I must obey God. But you are trying to stop me. Your thoughts do not come from God. Instead, you are thinking like men think.’

Matthew 16:13-23 EasyEnglish Bible (EASY)

Reflection

There had been lots of evidence: healings, walking on water, feeding 5000 from a few loaves of bread, even raising a dead girl back to life. Jesus hoped that by now people would have understood who he was. So he asked his friends what people were saying on the subject, and he got varied answers. Then he asked them for their opinion. Peter, always the leader, immediately said, ‘You are the promised Saviour, God’s Son.’

The Old Testament sometimes spoke about God sending a final Saviour for his people. And sometimes it spoke of God coming himself to save them. I don’t suppose Peter was sure which he meant when he spoke so quickly, but he realized Jesus was no ordinary man. He was that Saviour.

Jesus responded in two ways. One, they must not say this to anyone – yet. The political situation was very sensitive and Jesus still had work to do.

And two, they must change their ideas of what the promised Saviour would be like. They thought of him in a political way, saving them from the control of the hated Romans. Jesus wanted them to see that he had come to do a much more important job. He came to save them from the guilt and power of the bad things in human nature. And bring them back to a relationship with God.

He would do this by dying on the cross, taking personal responsibility for human guilt, and then coming alive in victory over death.

Peter tried to persuade him not to die on the cross. But Jesus spoke severely to him: the cross was God’s plan. To try to escape it was the Devil’s plan. Jesus would suffer the penalty that the whole guilty world deserved. There was no other way to be God’s final Saviour.