Having spent some time with His disciples, Jesus had the chance to teach them a theology they had never known nor heard. Whether it was through lecture, or illustration, He had explained that without a doubt, He had been sent by God. He had made it quite clear whether they had listened or not, that He was not a run of the mill rabbi. He was not just another teacher to add to the list of special teachers.
Not only through His spoken ministry, but especially through His physical ministry of working miracles, He demonstrated that His power was beyond that of anyone that they had ever heard or seen. No one could heal leprosy. No one could open deaf ears and loosen mute lips. No one could cast out demons. No one could raise people from the dead. No one could turn a few loaves and fishes into a catered meal for thousands. No one could stand on the boat during a midnight storm and speak to it like it was a mischievous child, and have it obey His voice. No one except this One.
He was different than anyone who had come before. Those that were closest to Him saw all of this. This is why when Jesus turns to His disciples and asks who they thought He was, Peter didn’t hesitate for a second, “You are the Messiah, the Christ, the Special One Who will set us free.” And Jesus was. There wasn’t a streak of doubt in Peter. Jesus was Christ. There was no one with more faith than Peter. As 1 John 1 says, “we held Him with our hands, we saw Him with our eyes, we heard His voice with our ears.” This Jesus was the One sent from God.
This truth makes what happens next even more difficult to believe. After confirming that Peter was correct and that Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus went on to tell His disciples that He needed to go into Jerusalem and be murdered by the hateful Jewish leaders. At this Peter “rebuked” Him. Peter didn’t want a Messiah that was going to die. He wanted a Christ that would never die.
In an instant, Jesus squared off with Peter and rebuked him. “Peter you don’t like the things of God, you favor the things that men hold dear.” Peter truly thought that Jesus’ death would impede His “Christ-ness.” Peter would later find out that it was only through Jesus’ sacrificial atoning death that Jesus could truly be the saving Messiah of the world.
Food For Thought: Read Romans 3:23-26. What reason does Paul give for Jesus, the Christ, having to die?