“…Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matt. 16:13)
In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew we read of the discourse of Jesus and His disciples and the subsequent monumental statement by Simon Peter, when he exclaims, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matt. 16:16). I would at this point like to take a more in-depth look at the following four verses, and analyze their implication and how we, as Bible believing Israelites, can implement and use these facts in our own walk and relationship with our Lord and Savior. “And Jesus answered and said unto him, blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father, who is in Heaven.” (Matt. 16:17). Jesus is indicating here that this revelation of Peter in regard to the identity of our Lord, was not Peter’s own, but profoundly inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is also the case with all of us who strive to search out the mysteries that are contained in the Holy Writ. Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we would never on our own come to the full understanding and conclusion of the truth! This truly is God’s gift to His chosen, His elect. “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18)
There is a play of words here in Jesus statement, what the Lord here is actually saying is, Peter, you are a stone, a pebble, but on this rock, this massive rock, Peter’s Holy Spirit inspired statement, I will build My church, My Ecclesia, My followers, My redeemed, and nothing that Satan throws in its way will effect it, “For greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”(1Jn. 4:4). “And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.” (Matt. 16:19).
It seems that in this statement of our Lord, that Jesus was bestowing some special power on Peter, but I tend to disagree with that. It is much broader than that. It encompassed not only Peter but all the other Apostles as well, including Paul, who at that time was not yet in the picture, and every other future preacher and layman that proclaims the Gospel of both individual and the masses. The key to God’s Kingdom is the knowledge of who is the Christ, the knowledge of the power of His redemptive blood and the faith to accept those truths, which can only be brought about by the preaching and hearing of the Word of God. Here comes to mind the Lord’s commission to His disciples after His resurrection as found in Matthew 28. “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you; (Matt. 16:19;20)
When we read these statements, we should also remember the Lord’s words, as stated in Matt. 10 where we read, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter not; but go rather, to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. This is in confirmation with the Lord’s words in Matt. 15, where Jesus emphatically states, “I am not sent but unto the Lost sheep of the House of Israel” (vs 24). Thus, we can here surmise that the Lord’s priority was the conversion and redemption of his own people Israel, it was for that reason that Peter did most of his work in Judea, in that Jesus commissioned Paul to labor among those of the dispersion and not to any heathen, non-Israelite peoples. This is not to say that other people are rejected, but their conversion and participation of the Kingdom blessings will be according to the prophetic statements as found in Isa. 2:2,3 and Micah 4:1,2. With all this said we come back to the latter part of vs 19 in Matt. 16. “What ever thou shalf bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.” In other words, all those who receive and accept the Kingdom message of Salvation in the blood of the King will not only be bound on earth but their name will be found in the Book of Life in the Heavenly Realm, where as those that reject the message will be cut loose both in earth and Heaven with no tie whatsoever to God’s redeeming love. Vs. 20 “Then charged He His disciples that they should tell no man that He was the Christ.”
When we read through the four Gospels, we come to realize that Jesus basically at all times refers to Himself as the “Son of Man” and not the “Son of God”. Jesus calls himself the “Son of God” only twice, and those instances are recorded in the Gospel of John 10:36 and 11:4. The reason that Jesus charged His disciples not to divulge the truth lays in the fact that the manifestation of Jesus, as the Christ and the Son of God, would not be made apparent until after His Crucifixion and Resurrection. In Mark 4:11 He answers the disciples when they asked Him about the parables and He said, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God; but unto those who are without (outside) all these things are done in parables”, in other words, the mystery would remain a mystery until and unless the Spirit would reveal those mysteries to the individual or the masses. But praise God, for now, under the New Covenant in His blood, we know Him as the Christ, the Son of God, our Redeemer and our King!