God’s Life-Giving Word of Discipleship
Matthew 16:13-28: Jesus questions his disciples about his identity, and Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus then speaks to the disciples about his suffering and death and teaches about self-denial.
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Peter's Declaration about Jesus
(Mark 8.27-30; Luke 9.18-21)
13Jesus went to the territory near the town of Caesarea Philippi, where he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 “Some say John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say Elijah, while others say Jeremiah or some other prophet.”
15“What about you?” he asked them. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17“Good for you, Simon son of John!” answered Jesus. “For this truth did not come to you from any human being, but it was given to you directly by my Father in heaven. 18And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
20Then Jesus ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Jesus Speaks about His Suffering and Death
(Mark 8.31—9.1; Luke 9.22-27)
21From that time on Jesus began to say plainly to his disciples, “I must go to Jerusalem and suffer much from the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. I will be put to death, but three days later I will be raised to life.”
22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “God forbid it, Lord!” he said. “That must never happen to you!”
23Jesus turned around and said to Peter, “Get away from me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of yours don't come from God, but from human nature.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. 25 For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it. 26Will you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life? Of course not! There is nothing you can give to regain your life. 27 For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his deeds. 28I assure you that there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Son of Man come as King.”
Verses 13-20 are often referred to as “Peter’s Confession.” How would you respond if someone were to ask you who Jesus is? Why does Jesus rebuke Peter after speaking to the disciples about his suffering and death (verse 23)? In the reading from January 14, Jesus spoke about taking up one’s cross and following him (Matthew 10:38). Here again in today’s reading (verses 24-26) Jesus says, “forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me.” How do you interpret what Jesus is saying in these verses?
Lord Jesus, I want to follow you and I boldly confess that you are the Messiah, God’s Anointed One, the promised Savior who has come into the world. You suffered and died on a cross for my sake but rose again so that I might have eternal life and dwell with you in glory. Amen.
Catechetical students and teachers
Matthew 17:1-28: Jesus is transfigured and his true glory is revealed.