“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
Jesus had spent about two years for his public ministry and in this passage he asked a couple of questions to his disciples; “Who do people say I am?” “Who do you say I am?” For the question, Peter answered “You are the Messiah.” Jesus asks the same question to everyone. Through this passage we can check our personal faith in Jesus and the importance of knowing who Jesus is and having personal faith in him.
1. Read verse 27. Where did Jesus and his disciples go? (27a) What question did Jesus ask them? (27b)
1-1. Read verse 27.
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
1-2. Where did Jesus and his disciples go? (27a)
· Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi
· Caesarea Philippi was located near Mt. Hermon 40km away to the north from the Sea of Galilee. The city was built to celebrate Pan, the Roman god by king Herod, The great. It was a gentile city under Hellenism culture.
· Jesus and his disciples were on the way to the city from Bethsaida where he healed a blind man in the previous passage.
1-3. What question did Jesus ask them? (27b)
· he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
· The time when Jesus asked this question, about two years had passed since Jesus had started his public ministry and the ministry was near to end.
· The question was the most important question to ask because Jesus had done all the things to help people to know he was.
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30,31)
· Since starting his public ministry, Jesus had healed so many sick people, performed miracles, taught word of God traveling all over Israel and surrounding gentile area and thousands of people met him and witnessed his power and authority and heard the word of God from him.
· Jesus had done more than enough things for the people to know who he was.
· Now people were supposed to have certain thought or conclusion about him.
· The reason why Jesus asked the question to his disciples first might be to help them to think about their own thought about who Jesus was and to help others in the nearer future as their shepherds.
· We can learn many things through the bible study but the most important goal for our bible study is to know who Jesus is. 39 You study[c] the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life( John 5:39,40).
2. Read verse 28. Who did people think Jesus was? (28) Why did they view Jesus in this way?
2-1. Read verse 28.
28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
2-2. Who did people think Jesus was? (28)
· “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
· The disciples knew what kind of thoughts people had about Jesus. Seeing what Jesus had done, people had developed certain idea about him.
· Their ideas about him were diverse:
· Some say John the Baptist;
- They thought Jesus was John the Baptist because Jesus’ preaching had power as John the Baptist had had. Also Jesus preached the same message that John the Baptist had preached, “Repent, for Kingdom of God is near”
- Jesus and his disciples also gave Baptism as John the Baptist had done.
- People could see that God’s power and his words were with Jesus just as they had been with John the Baptist.
· others say Elijah
- Elijah was known as the most powerful prophet in the Old Testament. He performed many miracles with God’s power.
- Seeing Jesus performing miracles with power of God, they thought that the Elijah returned, or Jesus was a powerful prophet like Elijah.
- Also they might think that Jesus was the Elijah whom the prophet Malachi prophesied. 5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” (Mal 4:5,6)
· and still others, one of the prophets.”
- Other people thought that Jesus was just one of the prophets.
· People recognized Jesus as a powerful servant of God or a powerful prophet who had the power and words from God.
· But they didn’t know who Jesus really was yet.
- During his public ministry Jesus showed that he was the Messiah by fulfilling all the prophecies about him such as opening blind man’s eyes and let the mute speak, even raising the dead to live. 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.(Mt 11:4-5)
- But they didn’t recognize and believe Jesus as the promised Messiah.
- There is a huge difference between believing Jesus as a powerful prophet and believing him as the Messiah, the living God.
· When people hear about Jesus they get many different ideas about him.
- Many people think that Jesus was a great person, a great teacher, a powerful leader or a philosopher. But even though they recognize Jesus as great figure they don’t know who Jesus really is and don’t accept him as the Messiah and creator God.
- There is big difference between recognizing Jesus as great man and believing him as the Messiah and the Immanuel God.
2-3. Why did they view Jesus in this way?
- They perceived Jesus based on their human thought and judgment instead of listening to what Jesus said carefully and believing him and his word.
- Their understanding about Jesus was shallow and superficial based on their own judgment.
- They couldn’t see what they were supposed to see and hear what they were supposed to hear because of many barriers such as religious leaders’ wrong teaching and their wrong expectation for the Messiah.
- They were seeking a Messiah whom they wanted instead of accepting the Messiah God prepared for them.
3. Read verses 29-30. What question did Jesus ask his disciples? (29a) Why is this question important? What was Peter’s answer? (29b) What warning did Jesus give them? (30)
3-1. Read verses 29-30.
29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
3-2. What question did Jesus ask his disciples? (29a)
· “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
- Jesus asked disciples’ personal opinion about Jesus. Jesus’ real interest was who his disciple thought and believed Jesus was.
- Disciple’s faith in Jesus was important because they should be witnesses of Jesus.
- Jesus checked their personal faith in Jesus through the question.
- Jesus asks the same question to each individual “ Who do you say I am?” We need to get ready to answer for the question.
- God wants each individual to know Jesus personally and have personal conviction about him. His real interest and genuine concern is who each person believes Jesus is.
- We need to build up personal faith and relationship with Jesus regardless how other people say about Jesus.
- Each person needs to check what kind answer he or she has for Jesus’ answer.
3-3. Why is this question important?
· The question is important because our salvation depends on the answer we have for the question. 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.(John 3:16-18)
· Each person needs personal faith in Jesus to be saved and have eternal life.
· The answer for the question is the foundation of our spiritual life and relationship with Jesus. According to what kind of answer we have for the question, the way how we live would be different.
3-4. What was Peter’s answer? (29b)
· Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
- Peter gave the answer immediately without any hesitance. It means he already had personal conviction about Jesus in his mind.
- Peter’s conviction that Jesus was the Messiah was so clear and firm without any uncertainty or doubt. He was so clear and confident. This is the genuine faith.
· Peter’s answer was the right answer that Jesus was looking for.
- ‘You are the Messiah’ – As Peter answered, Jesus is the Messiah whom God sent to save sinners and give them eternal life.
- ‘Messiah’ means ‘anointed one’. Jesus was the savior whom God promised and anointed. Following Jesus and observing all things Jesus had done Peter realized that Jesus was the Messiah whom God had sent.
- Jesus had made all effort during his public ministry to help Peter and his disciples to know he was the Messiah from God.
- People need the same confession of faith in Jesus to be saved.
- Peter was able to get the answer through the revelation from God. 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”17 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. (Mt 16:16,17)
- Peter committed his life to Jesus and followed him and heard his word and saw his miracles. Then God revealed truth to him that Jesus was the Messiah. God reveals the truth to those who earnestly seek it.
- When people want to know who Jesus is and seek him God reveals the truth to them and helps them to believe in Jesus with clear conviction. This is the work of the Holy Spirit and personal encounter with Jesus.
3-5. What warning did Jesus give them? (30)
· Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him
- Jesus didn’t want people to have wrong understanding about him hearing that Jesus was the Messiah. People at that time expected a political Messiah who could bring political freedom to the nation and make the nation prosperous. Jesus didn’t want people to come to him with wrong thought about the Messiah.
- People could believe in Jesus as the Messiah with wrong understanding about the Messiah. We need to have right understanding about the Messiah whom God prepared for us through the word of God instead of having an image of Messiah that we expect.
Jesus wants us to know who Jesus really is and have personal faith in him. God wants us to know him more deeply that our faith in him and devotion to him may grow deeper and stronger. May God help us to know Jesus him more deeply throughout this year and follow him by faith.