Categories
encouragement theology

Who Do You Say That I Am?

Thoughts from Matthew 16…

Who is Jesus?

Many people of Jesus’ day asked this question. Was He a prophet? Was He a great teacher? Was He a king?

But what about today? If Jesus was a prophet, did His predictions come true? If He was a great teacher, are any of His teachings relevant today? If He was a king, what happened to His kingdom?

Who was Jesus Christ? 

Who is Jesus Christ?

Why does it matter?

Matthew has written the Gospel account to answer this specific question. In every scene throughout this book, Matthew has shown the answer to this question. But this answer is expressed the most simply and directly by Simon, as he responded to Jesus in Matthew 16:

Matthew 16:13-23
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

This is a well-known passage in Scripture and has started many doctrinal discussions. Bible scholars have used this passage throughout the years to discuss many aspects about the Apostle Peter, including the origin of his name, his role within the church, and what authority he has been given over other believers. Both Catholic and Protestant theologians have used this passage as the basis for many doctrinal disputes.

But we often lose track of the message during battles such as this. What does this passage really mean? Take away the traditional controversies, and what is Jesus saying to Peter? What is He saying to the rest of the disciples? What is He saying to us?

This is also a defining moment for Peter. We see here — almost back-to-back — Peter’s highest and lowest moments. In one moment he is embraced by Jesus Christ Himself for speaking on behalf of the Father. But then he is physically assaulting the Lord as he has become the mouthpiece of the devil!

My father once described Peter as a man with a big mouth, who would let anyone use it. Great things would happen when he let God use his mouth and bad things would happen when he let Satan use it. It wasn’t until Pentecost that the Holy Spirit took hold of Peter’s mouth and finally made him consistently useful.

But when I look at myself, I can identify with Peter as he rises and falls. Peter only succeeds when he is obedient and looking to God. He fails when he relies on his own logic and becomes disobedient.

It is important to remember that the disciples have just traveled a great journey and are very discouraged. Jesus has been taking them through crisis after crisis, and it looks like things are falling apart. They had come to believe that He was the Messiah — the coming king of the Jews! But when the people gathered around Him to make Him king, He sent them away empty-handed (see here). When the scribes and the Pharisees accused Him, He left them to start teaching in these strange parables (see here, here, and here). When they cornered Him on the seashore, He abruptly left. We can’t minimize the confusion that these events put on the disciples. Even His greatest ally — John the Baptist — doubted Him before he was murdered in a drunken party. Jesus’ disciples expected a King who would dominate and lead, yet he quietly withdrew in the face of opposition. 

So Jesus took them far from the Jewish lands, and into one of the most wicked, vile, pagan centers of the region. Caesarea Philippi, believed by many of the Greeks and Romans to be the birth of their deity Pan, was a pleasure retreat for Roman soldiers. It was there that they could satisfy their fleshly desires. Vices such as idolatry, drunkenness, and prostitution were on full display as the thirteen Jewish men walked through the city streets.

But it is in this wicked place that God allowed Peter to center his beliefs. Why was he following Jesus Christ? Was it because He was some great teacher? Was He one of the great prophets of old? Was He more than simply a controversial miracle worker? It was during this time of isolation that the truth shone on Peter. Jesus is greater than their disappointment and disillusionment. He is more than anything the religious Jews or the local pagans could understand. He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God!

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God!

What did that mean to Peter and the other disciples? First, Jesus is the Christ! He is the King! He is the long-awaited Messiah — the hope of every devout Jew. He is the coming king of the Jews, and He will rule over the entire earth. He is the Promised One!

But Jesus is also the Son of God! He has all power. Don’t forget that the term “son” in scripture shows that He is equal to God (“Son” denotes equality, not simply a male offspring)b. God is alive and is with them in Jesus Christ!

These are the two most important things to remember about Jesus Christ, and this was what He was teaching His disciples on that day in Caesarea Philippi. This is what Jesus wants us to remember about Him!

  • Jesus is the King! He has all authority!
  • Jesus is God! He has all power!

This same message is echoed in John’s Gospel account: 

John 20:31
but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

This was Peter’s confession, and it is the highest that anyone could say about Jesus Christ. Peter wasn’t blinded by His own failures or expectations. Instead, he simply let God lead him into this great confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 

This is who Jesus is! And this confession — that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God — is the basis of His church. This belief was not only for Peter and the others of his day, it is for all of the followers of Jesus Christ from that time afterward. This is what the church is built upon!

Here, after being relentlessly pursued by the religious elite. Here, amidst the most vile pagan atrocities. Here is where He will show who He is. He is the coming king and He is God!

But then Peter got lost. 

Peter was at the mountaintop of his belief. He finally understood what his Lord was teaching him, so surely problems would be over, right?

But Jesus had only led them to that belief as the starting point. They needed to understand who Jesus Christ was before they could meet the next trial. Because the next trial would devastate them.

Now that they knew their Lord, it is time to tell them what will happen to Him. Jesus is not going to set up a Jewish Kingdom at that time. Instead, He is going to go to Jerusalem, be tortured and killed, and then rise from the dead!

Don’t forget that these men had left everything to follow Jesus Christ. They followed Him for over two years, and now He just told them that He is going to die! They thought they were ready, but their theology could not handle this!

Once again, Peter takes the lead. But this time it is to confront his Lord. He must be wrong! He is the all-powerful God! He is the King! Surely this could never happen to him!

Peter’s arguments make sense, but they are not what God wants. Peter forgot to look to God for the answers, trying instead to reason it out on his own. He was back to looking after what Peter wanted, and not what God wanted. 

Jesus responded to Peter in one of His most scathing rebukes: “Get behind me, Satan!” Peter was no longer being used by God, and Satan had twisted his logic into an attack on the Lord Jesus Christ. This is very similar to the Lord’s temptation (Matthew 4:10) and yielded the same result — Jesus refused to play along. 

Peter’s failure was not in his words or his reaction, but in where he was setting his mind. He was focused on man’s agenda, not on God’s agenda.

We miss the point of this passage when we look at it as a statement of Peter’s merits or about Peter’s failures. Both of these are fully on display here, but this is not about Peter. This is about Jesus Christ. Do we know who Jesus Christ is? 

Do we have the courage to say that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God? Even in the face of our disappointments, can we call Him Lord? Can we trust Him?

Or do we stop to reason it out? Do we try to go through the logical route, asserting to the Lord that we really know what is best?

May we remember that Jesus is the King, the Son of the Living God! May we remember who He is and keep our eyes on Him!

Previous passage: What is God Doing Around Us?


Matthew 16:13-23
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Mark 8:27-33
And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Luke 9:18-22
Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”


About Caesarea Philippi

The Greek rulers built the city of Paneas at the base of Mount Hermon in northern Palestine, in the third century B.C. It was named after the god Pan, and it featured a large and very deep cave. This cave was considered to be a gateway to Hades (the place of the dead).

Herod (and his son Philip) renovated Paneas, building a large temple and fashioned the city as a Roman retreat. They renamed the city to Caesarea Philippi to commemorate the Roman emperor and Herod Philip, the current local ruler. During the time of Jesus Christ it was known for its excesses of corruption, greed, and rampant wickedness. No God-fearing Jew would dare to come near the place!

Caesarea Philippi was near the ancient city of Dan, which marked the northern boundary of Israelite territory in Old Testament times. Jewish settlement had moved further to the south by the time of the New Testament, so Jesus would have been well outside Jewish territory when He came here with His disciples.

The only reference to Caesarea Philippi in the New Testament is this scene in Matthew 16 (and its parallel passage in Mark 8). It is here that we witness Peter’s great confession about Jesus Christ, and where Jesus begins to teach His disciples about His upcoming arrest, death, and resurrection. It is also near Caesarea Philippi — on the slopes of Mount Hermon — that Jesus will reveal Himself in His glory at the transfiguration (Matthew 17).

Caesarea Philippi should not be confused with Caesarea Maritima (commonly called “Caesarea” in the New Testament) on the Mediterranean Coast. Caesarea Maritima was a prominent Roman city in Israel and is mentioned throughout the book of Acts (see Acts 8:40, 9:30, 12:19, 18:22, 21:8, 23:31-35). See especially the account of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10.

The modern site of Caesarea Philippi is the local city of Banias (a transliteration of the original name, Paneas). 

Who do people say that I Am?

Matthew 16:13-14
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

It is interesting to note that the Jewish people believed Jesus to be a prophet. 

Some say John the Baptist. John the Baptist was killed by this time and a popular view had risen that Jesus had taken up John’s spirit and was now his incarnation. This was Herod’s view of Jesus Christ — see Matthew 14:1.

Others say Elijah. Elijah was the bold prophet of the Old Testament known for his force and his power. Malachi prophesied that God would send Elijah before the end times (Malachi 4:5) and the Jews believed that Elijah would announce the Messiah (Matthew 17:10-13, see also here). Perhaps He was another Elijah?

And others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Jeremiah was remembered for confronting the sinful generation of his day. Likewise, Jesus had gained a reputation for confronting the sinners of his day. To their eyes, perhaps He was another Jeremiah?

They held Him high respect but they refused to accept Him as their king or to worship Him as God.

How did the Father reveal this to Peter?

For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).  

Simon Peter declared Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus immediately blessed him for his response, because this revelation did not come from human agency but through God the Father. When Simon Peter was focused on God, the Father showed him clearly who Jesus was — He was the Christ (the Messiah), and the Son of God. 

But this wasn’t new information for Simon Peter. He and the other disciples had already declared Jesus as the Messiah (John 1:40-41, John 1:49) and the Son of God (Matthew 14:33, John 6:68-69). So what was it that God the Father had revealed to Peter on that day?

Some commentators believe that the disciples forgot this information about Jesus Christ, and that the Father’s revelation was to bring this back to memory. But this view would contradict the fact that Peter had very recently declared Jesus to be the “Holy One of God” (John 6:69), so they already knew about Jesus Christ. The better explanation is twofold: 

First, this knowledge about Jesus Christ was not necessarily immediate. Simon Peter and the other disciples had been following, serving, and listening to Jesus for over a year and a half by this time. During the course of His ministry, God had made the truth about Jesus Christ clear to them, as indicated by their confessions of Him. Therefore, this revelation by the Father to Simon Peter about Jesus Christ had taken place across the duration of his time in following the Lord. Jesus was saying that he could have never understood who Jesus Christ was on his own.12

Second, God brought back this knowledge of Jesus Christ as a reminder to Simon Peter at this time. Through all of the recent discouragement and upheaval as the Lord took His disciples out of Jewish territories and into this pagan city, he remembered that Jesus was the coming king, and the Son of the Living God. 

“This revelation was not the result of Peter’s own investigation. It came as the gracious act of God.” – Warren Wiersbe4

What is the “rock” upon which Jesus will build His church?

Matthew 16:17-18
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

This is usually the central controversy of this passage in Matthew 16. Roman Catholic theologians often contend that this rock must refer to Peter, while many Protestant theologians argue that this cannot be the case.

After Simon Peter’s great confession, Jesus renamed him to Peter (Petros, Πέτρος, meaning “stone”) and then said that He would build His church upon this rock. The play of words for both Peter’s name and the rock of the church are in immediate succession, so they must be deliberate. But what did Jesus mean by this “rock” upon which He would build His church?

The traditional Roman Catholic interpretation is that the “rock” is Peter himself. This is used as the basis for doctrines such as that Peter is the founder and leader of the church, the succession of church leaders in Peter’s place, the infallibility of the church leader, etc. This interpretation has many problems, most notably the following:

  • Jesus was speaking to Peter, so the “rock” would need to be in the second person if it was about him. For example, He would have said, “upon you I will build my church..” if it was directed to Peter.
  • There are two different words for Peter (Petros, Πέτρος, “small stone”) and the “rock” (petra, πέτρα, “large rock”).
  • Peter’s immediate failures afterward show that he was far from being the cornerstone of the church. We see times of Peter’s failures even after Pentecost (Galatians 2).

“The actions of the disciples afterward shows that they never expected that Jesus had given Peter the primary role. They fought about who would be the greatest, even to the point that James and John asked to be seated at his right and left.” – John MacArthur14

Another interpretation that is gaining ground is related to the geography of Caesarea Philippi. The original pagan city was built against a large rock formation containing a deep cave. The people believed the cave to be the birthplace of Pan, the god of fertility and the cave itself was considered to be the “gates of Hades”. This rock formation has been decorated with many pagan symbols and given rise to pagan temples nearby. Therefore, this interpretation is that Jesus was pointing to the pagan rock formation and saying that He would build his church against this rock. According to this interpretation therefore, the Church will grow to combat the pagan world. This interpretation has the following problems:

  • The Greek word for “on” is epi (ἐπί), which is very rarely translated as opposition (“against”). Nor have any of the major Bible translations used it this way in Matthew 16. The most straightforward translation is using it as a basis (“on this rock”).
  • This interpretation makes a lot of assumptions that are not in Scripture, most notably that Jesus and His disciples were at the rock formation when He spoke to them. All we know was that they were in “the district of Caesarea Philippi”, which could cover a large area. The interpretation that “this rock” was for the local rock formation would only make sense if they were standing there.
  • This would be a very obscure way for Jesus to indicate idols, nor is there such a precedent elsewhere in Scripture.
  • It doesn’t fit the context. Immediately before, He was asking about men’s perceptions of Himself, and immediately afterward He is telling them about His upcoming arrest by the Jews. This would be an abrupt change to interject teaching about the pagan idols in Caesarea Philippi.

Another interpretation is that Jesus is talking about Himself as the “rock”. Although this matches well with other Scripture which refers to Jesus Christ as the “rock” and “chief cornerstone”, this also doesn’t fit the conversation. Nowhere else in the Gospels does Jesus refer to Himself as “this rock”, and the third person makes it difficult to expect that Jesus was referring to Himself.

The final interpretation that fits the passage the best is that “this rock” is Peter’s confession. The play on words (i.e. “stone” to “rock”) is deliberate, as the confession has come from Peter. But the Lord Jesus will build His church on this understanding of who He is. This goes beyond any of Peter’s personal shortcomings and firmly establishes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

“I will build my church”

Matthew 16:18b
and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

This is first time in the New Testament that we encounter the word for “church”, ekklesia (ἐκκλησία). This word only occurs twice in the gospels: here in Matthew 16 and in Matthew 18:17.1 The assembly was the local council that governed the small towns and villages in that region. But this is the first time that Jesus applies this word for assembly to His followers. Although we see the church here as a preview of what is to come, it does not become fully formed until the events in Acts and is defined in the New Testament Epistles. 

Matthew’s Gospel account focuses on how Jesus was initiating the Kingdom while on earth. But the time will soon come when Jesus Christ is taken away and the primary vehicle for advancing His Kingdom on earth will be the church. It will be built on Peter’s confession, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. 

What are the “gates of hell”?

As mentioned above, Caesarea Philippi was built upon the ancient of Paneas, a city dedicated to the pagan god Pan. There is a large cave in the region, which the pagan worshippers believed to be a gateway to hades (the place of the dead). Jesus used this local geography to alert His disciples to the powers of hell. These mystical beliefs about Pan and the gateway to death are no match for Jesus Christ and His church!

But there is a much more direct meaning to the “gates of hell”. The powers of hell are not the mystical, pagan beliefs about the dead. Instead, there is a very real power of hell, where Satan and his angels stand ready to oppose and destroy anything to do with Jesus Christ. The term, the “gates of hell” was an idiom of that day indicating the central power of hell, which was commonly known to be death. Therefore, Jesus was teaching His disciples that all the powers of hell, not even death itself, will be able to defeat His church!

What are the “keys to the kingdom of heaven”?

Matthew 16:19
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

This statement (Matthew 16:19) was part of Jesus’ promise to Peter. This image of the “keys to the kingdom” has given rise to several artistic renderings of Peter holding a set of keys. This has also initiated the popular belief that Peter is waiting to meet new souls at the gates of Heaven. But what are the “keys to the kingdom of heaven” that He promised?a

Nowhere in Scripture do we see Peter given the role of standing guard at Heaven’s gates. Nor do we see Peter given any special power to save or to curse those on earth. Instead, this is a promise by Jesus Christ that Peter will have a special role in opening up the Kingdom of Heaven to those who believe. We see Peter fulfil this role on the day of Pentecost when he preaches the first sermon of the church and about three thousand were saved (Acts 2). 

Jesus’ second promise to Peter was, “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”. 

This second promise has given rise to the belief that church leaders hold a special power over their flock. According to this belief, the church leaders — especially Peter or his successors — have the power to either save or to condemn whoever they chose.

Jesus also made the same promise to all of His disciples after His resurrection:

John 20:23
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

This passage in John is also explained in the post here: “We know from other scripture (Mark 2:7) that only God can forgive sins. Therefore, this promise is better understood to indicate that the disciples were empowered to declare God’s forgiveness. They would declare that people had been forgiven by God when they received Him and that they were not forgiven when they rejected Him.”

Therefore, we know that Peter (and the other disciples) have the authority to declare what God has already decided in heaven. They are to forgive those who have already been forgiven by God, and to withhold forgiveness from any who have not been forgiven by God.


References

[1] Stanley D. Toussaint, Behold The King, Kregel Publications, 1980, Matthew 16:13-28, pages 200-210

[2] H.A. Ironside, Ironside Expository Commentaries, Matthew 16, The Church and the Kingdom

[3] H.A. Ironside, Ironside Expository Commentaries, Address 32, Peter’s Confession and True Discipleship, Luke 9:18-26

[4] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, David C. Cook, 2007, Matthew 16:13-28, pages 47-49

[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, David C. Cook, 2007, Mark 8:27-30, pages 112-113

[6] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, David C. Cook, 2007, Luke 9:18-26, pages 166-167

[7] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book III, CHAPTER XXXVII: THE GREAT CONFESSION, THE GREAT COMMISSION, THE GREAT INSTRUCTION, THE GREAT TEMPTATION, THE GREAT DECISION (St. Matthew 16:13-28; St. Mark 8:27, 9: 1; St. Luke 9:18-27.), https://www.ccel.org/ccel/edersheim/lifetimes.viii.xxxvii.html

[8] Doug Bookman, Life of Christ, Audio Series, Lecture 9, https://www.christianity.com/jesus/life-of-jesus/harmony-of-the-gospels/19-jesus-finds-solitude-with-his-apostles-far-north-in-galilee.html

[9] Stephen Davey, Who We Are, Matthew 16:18, 9/13/2015

[10] Stephen Davey, The Hotheads, Luke 9, 2/24/1991

[11] Stephen Davey, Ranking Jesus, Luke 9:18-22, 2/24/2013

[12] John MacArthur, The Supreme Confession, Matthew 16:13-17, Sep 26, 1982

[13] John MacArthur, Church that Christ Builds, The Part 1, Matthew 16:18-20, Oct 3, 1982

[14] John MacArthur, Church that Christ Builds, The Part 2, Matthew 16:18-20, Oct 10, 1982

[15] John MacArthur, Offending Christ, Matthew 16:21-23, Oct 17, 1982

[16] D.A. Carson, Editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Zondervan, 2010, Matthew 16:13-28


Notes

[a] Most Bible Commentators settle on three interpretations to what the “keys to the kingdom” mean:

  • Peter will be the one to open the “door” of the kingdom to the Jews at Pentecost, the Samaritans and the Gentiles.
  • The key is a badge of authority which is given to Peter. He will have a position of authority in Christ’s kingdom.
  • The key is the access to knowledge (see Luke 11:52). In this case, Peter is able to impart saving knowledge of the kingdom.

My understanding of this passage is all of the above. Jesus is promising Peter a position of authority in His coming kingdom because of his confession. But this truth about Jesus Christ will open the door to all people groups: Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. Therefore, the keys to the kingdom will be the gospel, as brought forth through Peter.

[b] It is important to remember that the term “son” meant more than a male offspring in the ancient Jewish culture. The son was of the same essence as the father, with the same rights and privileges. Two good examples of this in Scripture are the following:

  • The apostles gave Joseph the title of “Barnabas”, meaning “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36-37). To the apostles, Barnabas personified encouragement.
  • Jesus referred to Judas as the “son of destruction” (John 17:12). Judas personified destruction by betraying the Lord.

One reply on “Who Do You Say That I Am?”

I really was encouraged by this study and thoroughly enjoyed the details about the geography and what other scholars believed the passage to mean. It was a well rounded passage that made points clearer for me to see.

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