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j) Peter’s Decisive Confession of Jesus’ Divinity
(Matthew 16:13-20)
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.” (Matthew14:2;17:10, Mark8:27-30;9:18-21, Luke7:16, John6:69)

After the people of Galilee left Christ fearing the leaders of the Jews, Jesus led His disciples into the neighboring kingdom of Philip, one of the great Herod’s sons. There He could get some rest and peace, and free Himself from His oppressors. He continued to train His followers that they might be able to preach, edify, and establish the kingdom of God after His death.
Christ did not ask, “Who do the scribes and Pharisees say that I am?” They were prejudiced against Him and claimed that He was a deceiver in league with Satan. Jesus asked, “Who do men say that I am?” He referred to the common people, whom the Pharisees despised. Christ asked this question, not as one that did not know, for if He knows what men think, much more what they say! The common people conversed more familiarly with the disciples than they did with their Master, and therefore He wanted to guide them to talk openly what they whispered secretly. Christ had not plainly said who He was, but let people to infer it from His works (John 10:24-25). Now He wanted to make publicly what inferences the people drew from them and from the miracles that His apostles wrought in His name.
Most of the time, Christ called Himself “the Son of Man.” This means that Christ was a man like His disciples and like us. However, this title includes the greatest miracle; God appeared in the body of man to come near to us and to overcome the temptations and weaknesses of our bodies. This title also signifies that Jesus is the eternal Judge who sits on the throne and comes again in the glory of His Father. He is attended with multitudes of the angels that He will send to carry out the judgment. People of the Old Testament knew that these exciting words, “the Son of Man,” taken from the prophet Daniel, chapter 7, signified the coming Christ in His great power in the heavenly form of a man. The evangelist Matthew mentions this name of Jesus multiple times along with its significance in Chapters 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25 and 26. We read this name of Jesus eighty times in the New Testament, thirty times in Matthew alone.
Through the work of the Father, Jesus patiently led His disciples into the understanding of His divine essence, at which point Peter got up and decisively confessed the truth of Scripture. He called Jesus of Nazareth, the “Christ,” as King David was promised by God a thousand years earlier, and whom the faithful prophets had waited over the course of ages. With this declaration by the disciples, Jesus had reached a critical point in His ministry with them. From this time on He devoted Himself to educating and molding His disciples in this great truth.
Peter clarified his testimony, daring to call the Son of Man, the Son of God, born of the Holy Spirit, and full of grace and truth. It is to be mentioned that attributing these two words to Jesus, “Christ” and “Son,” deserved the sentence to death by the Jewish Sanhedrin. This shows that the confession of Peter meant real danger for Jesus and His followers if declared in public.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, we glorify You and love You because You are the Son of Man and the Son of God at the same time. You came to redeem us from sin, death, and Satan, and to make us real children of God in love. We worship You, rejoice, and tell whoever wants to hear that You are the Christ, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world. Give us a plain and wise testimony that everyone who is prepared to hear may know that You are the Christ, the Son of God, and accept You with joy.
What does Peter’s testimony, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” signify?