Monday, February 17, 2014
February 17: Christ, son of the living God
When Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They answered, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16 — NET)
No word or detail in the Bible is useless or accidental—there is a purpose for everything. Whenever you read the Bible, keep this in mind; every word, every idea is intentional and meant to teach us something. When this passage mentions where Jesus was (Caesarea Philippi) we might be tempted to see this as an unnecessary detail, but we would be wrong.
Caesarea Philippi was an area towards the north of the Sea of Galilee at the base of Mount Hermon. Later in His ministry Jesus would be transfigured on this mountain, the highest in all of Israel. But another interesting fact is that this mountain had long been a place of idol worship whenever the Jews drifted away from God, so when Jesus asked His disciples who people said He was, and who they thought He was, He was contrasting false idol worship and worship of the true God.
People thought that Jesus was a prophet that had been raised from the dead, but Peter’s bold statement took this much further when he called Him “Christ, Son of the living God.” By doing this he declared that He was God, the anointed One that all the Jews were waiting for… the Messiah, which is the Hebrew and Aramaic term for Christ. It is the first time that any of the disciples had gone this far, and maybe Peter did not understand all the implications of what he said, but as a man of faith he took that step.
Jesus identified Peter’s statement as a revelation from God; it was not a conclusion he had come to all by himself. God had opened his eyes to this truth, and the same goes for us today. We will only understand certain things when God reveals them to us, or to our family. We can read the Bible and go to church, but only when we humble ourselves and seek God’s truth will we be able to truly understand Him, open our hearts to be saved, and understand His plan for our lives.