First Lesson: Genesis 1: 1 - 2:4
Responsive Reading: Psalm 8
Second Lesson: Acts 2: 14, 22-36
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 28: 16-20
Jesus asks the disciples who do people say that I am?
Some say John the Baptist, Some say Elijah, Some say one of the prophets of old
And who do you all say that I am.
Peter makes this great confession - , "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Note - How he comes to make this confession and just where it is that he does so
How does he come to do so – It isn’t by intellect – it isn’t because Peter was so smart – because he was brighter than the other disciples and figured it out. It isn’t by his senses or intuition – he didn’t this confession of faith because he had a feeling or somehow sensed it. What does Jesus say “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.” He comes to the truth of Jesus’ identity because it has been revealed to him by God. The truths of scripture are revealed truths.
The where of Peter’s confession adds another dimension of meaning to this passage. Where were they when Jesus asks his disciples these questions? Where is Ceasaria Philippi anyway? And what kind of a place was it? Caesarea Philippi was the capital of the Roman province in Judea, the seat of leaders that ruled their land, the headquarters of the Roman troops that occupied their country; and also the heart of the kind of pagan worship. There in Caesarea, Jesus and his disciples were surrounded by numerous idols, 14 temples to Baal, one to Caesar and a nearby cave that was rumored to be the birth place of the Greek God, Pan – At the base of Mount Herman this cave was believed to be the entry place to the underworld – the place of the dead this cave was believed to be the gates of hades.
Now Jesus reply takes on a deeper meaning. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
Near a Roman city filled with Roman troops where Ceasar is Lord – in a region full of idols and pagan worship –near the very gates of hades. it is here that Jesus asks who do people say that I am who do you say that I am.
I would be tempted to whisper my confession – that Jesus is the long awaited anointed King of the Jews – I might be concerned that a Roman soldier might overhear.
With all these Baal worshippers and worshippers of Ceasar and of the Greek God Pan. Even in the midst of Jewish countrymen – I might be tempted to whisper my confession that Jesus is the Son of the Living God.
It’s kind of like boldly confessing our faith with the Apostle’s Creed and then leaving the sanctuary and not really feeling comfortable talking about God even with each other