Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy!
Before we left town, we heard that no one believed the blind man had been healed until someone asked his parents if he’d been blind from birth. I could understand why a person born blind never lost the ability to see, they never had it to start with.
Jesus led us north, into the mountains around Caesarea Philippi about 25 miles from the Sea of Galilee and the capital of Herod the Great’s son, Phillip. It used to be called Paneas in honor of the pagan god Pan. He was still worshipped there, and King Herod built a temple for worshipping Caesar the Great there.
Why on earth would Jesus bring us here? From our place overlooking the temple to Caesar who called himself the ‘son of God’ and where Pan was worshipped, sometimes called the Gates of Hell by Jews because the pagans believed the cave there led to the underworld where their fertility gods slept in the winter.
Jesus looked over it all, then turning to us, he asked, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
“John the Baptist.” said one.
Another said, “Elijah.”
Matthew said, “Others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
With a surprising firmness to his voice, Simon said, ” You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
One of the line of King David, from who the Messiah or ‘anointed one’ is prophesied to come. Is Simon saying Jesus is the Messiah?
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. And I tell you that you are Peter,” Jesus puts a hand on Simon’s shoulder and Simon Peter smiles, “and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 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.”
At the ‘Gates of Hell’ and looking at the temple of a man claiming to be the son of God, Jesus just claimed he’s the Son of God and nothing can stop him.
Jesus warned us not to tell anyone he was the Messiah…yet. Which makes sense, anyone that Rome views a threat end up dead.
Jesus had more to say though…