The Aim of this devotional study is to evaluate your own personal belief of Jesus Christ’s identity and life, as we look at Peter’s confession of him.
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 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. 18 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. 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.”
20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
21 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.
Note: Caesarea Philippi was located at the base of Mt Hermon, next to a natural spring that gushed from the mountain (which used to be the source of the Jordan river) – a place of pagan worship and rituals. Next to the fountain was a temple of the Greek god Pan (see images below). The city was rebuilt and renamed in 3BC by Philip II, son of Herod the Great, renamed the city Caesarea Philippi in honour of Caesar Augustus (14AD) and later he pressed his own coins with his face on in 30AD – considered an act of idolatry by the Jews.
Thus, in Jesus’ day this city was renown for animistic pagan worship at the natural spring, Greek worship of Pan, Roman emperor worship of Caesar and even veneration of Philip himself. And here Jesus chose to ask his disciples: “Who do you say I am?”
- Considering the background knowledge of the city mentioned above, what depth does it add to Jesus posing the question of his identity in this city?
- Unpack Peter’s confession of Jesus (verse 16) – what do the parts of the confession mean?
- Directly after Peter’s of Jesus, Jesus said things to Peter (verse 18-19). What did Jesus do with these sayings? What can we learn from that? [hint: identity]
- It appears as though Jesus’ relationship with his disciples changed from that moment onward (verse 21). What changed, and what can you learn from this?
- Like in Jesus’ day, there are many religions, philosophies, opinions and feelings about life. Jesus poses this same question to you who have walked a while with him: who do YOU say he is? What do you believe about the identity of Jesus? Who is he to you? Why do you say so?
- After Peter confessed Jesus’ identity, Jesus affirmed Peter’s identity and purpose. What does Jesus say about you? Who are you? Has he said something about your future to you yet? Ask the Lord, and write down what you believe to be true about yourself.
Spend some time to tell the Lord Jesus who you believe him to be. (take your time).
Then ask him to tell you who you are in him. (write this down).