By Arla, Oct 23 2020 01:00AM
Jesus knows his time is limited. By the next Passover he will be crucified. But his disciples still have no true understanding of his mission. So he takes them up to the area of Caesarea Philippi where they would be away from Judaism and the large crowds. He wants to devote himself to preparing the twelve for the crisis ahead.
After spending time alone praying that their hearts would be receptive, he begins with, "Who do men say I am?"
"Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah..." Sadly they admit that Israel did not accept their Messiah.
"But who do you say I am?"
Peter again speaks for them, "You are the Messiah, the Son of God."
Jesus responds, "You are favored, Simon, for God has revealed this to you," strengthening their faith in Him. "Upon this rock I will build my church. And the kingdom of hell shall not prevail against it."
Some read this to mean Peter is the foundation of the church. However, Jesus is called the foundation, the Rock, and the Cornerstone.* And the disciples did not teach or recognize that anyone had been set above the others. (Would they always have been arguing about who would be first, if he had?) He and they taught the opposite--position yourself to serve.
Jesus never taught men to dictate what other men should believe.** He, himself, spent two years knowing his disciples were in total denial of the outcome of his true mission. He was clear but not demanding.
Matthew 16:13-23, Mark 8:27-33, Luke 9:18-22 *1Corinthians 3:11, Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 62:7, Isaiah 28:16 **Matthew 23:8,10, Jeremiah 17:5