13When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
This section (16:13-19) presents a highlight in the ministry of Christ, indicating His transition from ministry to Israel to ministry to the church.
Jesus established the centrality of His person in verses 13-20. He is the “rock” upon which God builds the church. This is a transition passage from offering the kingdom to Israel to establishing the church as a new entity.
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi,
Caesarea Philippi was a city not on the coast (as was the city of Caesarea) but in northern Palestine on the southwest slope of Mount Hermon (9,000’). This city was in a pagan area where people worshipped the Greek deity Pan. Herod dedicated a temple to worship Caesar there. Caesarea Philippi was 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, near the source of the Jordan River (5 miles east). This was the farthest north Jesus went in His ministry.
He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man [common designation of Jesus’ humanity], am?”
Jesus asked the disciples about the crowd’s view of His identity.
So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
The disciples answered that the crowd’s view of Jesus ran the gamut of four possibilities. John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Messiah. Malachi (4:5) expected Elijah, a prophet of miracles, to return. Jeremiah was a major prophet. Since John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah were national champions of Israel, people thought Jesus might be one of these or one of the prophets.
He said to them, “But who do you [emphatic] say that I am?”
Taking a poll of who Jesus was is irrelevant; human viewpoint is not adequate to understand who Jesus was. If Jesus was merely another prophet, it would diminish His Messiahship.
Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ,
Peter categorically answered Jesus question differently than the general population. The word “Christ” means Messiah. Peter, speaking on behalf of the disciples, confessed that Jesus carried credentials of the Messiah.
the Son of the living God.”
This phrase adds more than simply that Jesus was the Messiah; it declares that He is God Himself. Jesus is the “living” God, as opposed to the dead idols of Palestine.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah [son of Jonah], for flesh and blood [human beings] has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Peter did not come to the conclusion about who Jesus was on his own. He could only know this by divine revelation. Revelation of divine viewpoint is more important than miracles in ratifying Jesus as Messiah.
We know God best through divine viewpoint.
Those who confess Christ receive blessing from Him. As we come to know the Savior better and fellowship with Him through the Word, the Holy Spirit will open our minds to more of His power and truth (Ro 10:17).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will . . . (Eph 1:3-5).