Peter’s Confession of the Messiah
Open Your Bible
Mark 8:1-30, Matthew 16:13-20, Mark 8:31-38, Mark 9:1
BY Susan Yates
I was very unhappy, stuck in the middle seat on a packed international flight. For several weeks my husband, John, and I had been speaking throughout Africa. It had been a wonderful time, but now my body was shutting down. Exhaustion leaked from every pore.
Miserable, I began to think about one of my children. A sense of uneasiness overwhelmed me. In my imagination, I considered a problem this child might have. The more I thought about this, the more anxious I became. “What if” fears raced through my head. Finally, I cried out to the Lord, “Help!” What popped into my head was the phrase, “Remember Me.”
At that moment, I realized my issue had become bigger in my head than my God. I had forgotten who He was, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, who knows and loves my child even more than I do.
How easy it is to forget who He is or to misunderstand who He is.
In today’s reading, the early followers of Jesus were themselves unsure. One day Jesus posed two questions to His followers: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13). They responded with a variety of answers which they’d heard along the way. But it is the second question which is the most crucial: “But you?…who do you say that I am?” (v.15). I can almost hear a drumroll as we wait for their answer to this most important question. Simon Peter is quick to respond, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (v.16).
Jesus responds first by telling him that His Father in heaven is the one who has revealed this to him. He goes on to call him Peter. He says that He will build His church upon the truth that Peter has perceived, which is the rock upon which we stand (vv.17–18).
Can you imagine how this affirmation and calling must have been for Peter, even though he did not know what it meant? Peter’s then quickly hits a low. When Jesus explains his coming death, Peter’s response is basically, “no way!” (Mark 8:31–33).
I see myself in Peter. Perhaps you do too. One minute I see Jesus for who He is, I want to follow Him wholeheartedly. I am full of confidence and of faith. But it’s not long before my issues and fears overwhelm my faith. It is easy to forget that He is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. He knows the concerns of my heart.
The good news is that in Jesus’s handling of Peter, He is patient. He knows how weak Peter is, and He alone knows the future for Peter. Growth takes time. God is patient. As He was with Peter, He is very patient with us.