“Then [Jesus] asked them, ‘But who do you say I am?’ ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being’” (Matthew 16:15-17, NLT).
When Jesus asked, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” we can sense the sudden tension in the air. They had been brainstorming the different ways the crowds were identifying Jesus. Now Jesus was asking them for their own view. First, I assume, there was silence. Then Peter, the spokesman for all the disciples said: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus did not ask Peter what he meant (I wonder what would it be, right?). Depending on the Bible translation, the first title in Peter’s declaration may be “Christ” or “Messiah.” “Christ” comes from transliterating the Greek term Khristos, which along with Messiah (Hebrew) means “the Anointed One.” Peter was placing Jesus “the Anointed One” in the singular category of the Promised One from the Old Testament prophesies. Peter (that mean all the disciples, I assume) got the title right, even if he didn’t fully understand what it meant. Peter would have to discover what each of us eventually discovers – we can have the right answer about God, but there will always be more to God than our answers. Even our right answers are only a glimpse of all God has to reveal.
Jesus affirmed Peter and his answer, using his formal name – “Simon, son of John.” He declared Peter “Blessed,” not because he had given the right answer but because that right answer had been given to him by Jesus’ “Father in heaven.” God demonstrated his favour on Peter’s life by giving him the insight to speak the right answer.
Think about this: We also have been given the same insight from God’s Holy Spirit, so that we can acknowledge Jesus as the Promised One, the Son of God. We are, therefore, blessed by God. God’s Word makes it clear that we can’t claim to generate the faith it takes to believe in Jesus. The Scripture stated, “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). When it comes to receiving credit for our salvation, we get none – all of it goes to Christ. Jesus himself said, “[My] Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.” In that moment when we believe, that simple act of faith is itself a gift from God. Amen – so be it.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.