Day 19 – Peter understands who Jesus is
Bible reading: Matthew 16:13–23
Peter says who Jesus is
Jesus tells his disciples how he would die
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.