Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 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. 18 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. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
The Confession at Caesarea Philippi and after reading the text I was left with three questions that I needed to answer.
1) Like the disciples why have I decided to follow Jesus and whom do I believe Jesus to be? In the text Jesus asked the question differently in each Matthew "who do people say that the Son of Man is", Mark (8:27-33) "Who do people say that I am" and Luke (9:18-22) Who do the crowds say that I am ?
I found it interesting that in each one of these Gospels Jesus ask the question differently the first time. But the second time in all three Christ ask the disciples "But who do you say that I am ?" This second questioning would be warranted in Luke's Gospel, because the first question was based on the opinion of the 12. Here in Matthew and Mark's account when reading it you would be safe to assume that the disciples totally avoided the question and went on to repeat what they HEARD and not what they KNEW about the Jesus they served. So I have explained all of that to say the reason Peter's answer was right on point was because of the amount of time he spent with Jesus. I follow and serve Christ because over time and experiences in my life I have developed a relationship with Christ. We can all follow behind a mega church pastor, or follow a rapper on twitter and still could not tell that person one thing about them. Jesus already understood that if you have a relationship with him then your are by association in a relationship with God... and that leads into question two.
2) When was the last time your spiritual maturity and readiness were tested?. Jesus knew where Peter, and I assume James along with John were in their spiritual minds. However I believe this question was asked to test the rest of the followers through out time even as I am typing now. My answer is that as people on a faith journey we get tested daily. I would question any Christian that says they are not faced with some trial or spiritual circumstance daily that does not test their faith. My personal feelings is that the Satan just as God has a spiritual radar and as Christians if we are not setting the radar off in a positive way daily then we might need to re-evaluate ourselves.
3) What does all of this mean and why would Jesus make this covenant? In verse 19 Jesus makes a covenant with the disciples about locking up and setting free, whatever is decided by the 12/ the church here on Earth would also stand as law in Heaven. Wow, right! I mean could you imagine Heaven being shut down over eternal care? You arrive at the gates of Heaven and it's a note saying closed due to shut down indefinitely.
Anyway I digress, but the reason Christ feels so confident in making this covenant with Peter, the other 11 and all the way down to us today is because we have faith and trust in him who is God. Christ knows us because we have a relationship with him. Since we are in constant relationship with God then God knows that we would only lock up what God wants locked up and we would only set free what God wants free.
So who holds the keys? God holds the keys because the keys are our hearts, our tongues and our minds. As God like individuals we love endlessly, speak life, and think peaceful deliverance and eternal salvation.
As I close this blog today I want to put some thing else on your mind looking at verses 20-22
20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
21 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.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus tells the 12 not to speak a word of this to anyone not because he was in hiding, but so that for the next person or twelve or three hundred would come to Christ not because of what they heard from others. Instead they will come to Christ because of what they learned about life and God through being in a relationship the 12 disciples, you and I, as well as the church universal.
In vs. 21 & 22 Jesus begains to tell them why they must prepare to win others for the sake of God as the time for Jesus death and resurrection approaches. I am reminded of the church today, Peter who just called Jesus the Messiah is now trying to protect God... Wow, after all that has transpired in this text is seems as if we are still learning how to let God be God. After all that God has delivered us from over our lives at the first sing of trouble we have the tendency to take over personally, communally and even socially in the church to fix the problem ourselves instead letting God be God. Who's holding the keys, God is because God is holding us!
I pray that these thoughts/ excerpts from my sermon series "Keys to the Kingdom" were a blessing to you. "Who's holding the Keys?" is sermon 4 of 4 from the series which is why the blog was so thorough.
May God bless you this and everyday.Be blessed and well, Love Pastor Sirchester.