Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah – “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 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.  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.  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 loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.”

 Today’s lesson has fittingly been acknowledged as pivotal and climactic in Matthew’s narrative of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. The stories to this point have repeatedly pressed the issue of faith and discipleship as the many stories of Jesus’ teaching and healing have led these disciples and ourselves to expect some things about this one called the Son of Man.

And now these stories are focused in Jesus’ intensely direct and personal question and in Peter’s response. “But who do you say that I am?” There is no escape and this is no time for evasion.  Peter speaks for the disciples, for Matthew’s gospel and the community to which it is first addressed, and certainly for us, announcing that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God (16:15-16). Jesus confirms this “confession” by Peter as a mark of God’s blessing and as the “rock” upon which he will build his church (16:17-18).

Jesus Predicts His Death (Matthew 16:21-28)

 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (verses 21-22).

 This passage moves from a focus upon Jesus and his vocation to his demands for disciples. Jesus has just congratulated Peter for his recognition that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Moreover, Jesus’ language has intimated authority: Peter the Rock provides the church’s foundation, he receives the keys to the realm of heaven and his earthly authority carries heavenly significance. But now Jesus begins a process of reinterpreting what being the Messiah really means — and what following that Messiah entails for the disciples. If Peter cannot bear the revelation of Jesus’ coming suffering (16:22), how will he respond when the focus shifts to disciples whose fate mimics that of Jesus?


Jesus’ Last Ministry in Galilee (chapters 17:22-18:35)

Prediction of Jesus’ Death (17:22-23)

Temple Tax (17:24-27)

Discourse on Life in the kingdom (chapter 18)

Jesus’ Ministry in Judea and Pera (chapter 19)

Teaching concerning Divorce (19:1-12)

Teaching concerning Little Children (19:13-15)

The Rich Young Man (19:16-30)