DCLM Search The Scripture Youth & Adult For September 18, 2022 : Topic – Peter Confesses Christ
PETER CONFESSES CHRIST
TEXT: Matthew 16:1-28; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-27; 18:31-34
MEMORY VERSE: “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16)
Our study reveals Christ’s discourse with the Pharisees and Sadducees, men at variance among themselves, yet agreed in their opposition to Christ. This was because His doctrine countered the errors and heresies of the Sadducees who denied the existence of spirits. Believers are to live in expectation of persecution, and must be careful of the leaven of modern Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. The focus of the godly must remain in Christ, the very Source of our present and eternal life.
Question 1: Why was Jesus Christ particularly interested in His disciples’ perception of His Person?
Christ had a private meeting with His disciples concerning Himself. He asked, “But whom say ye that I am?” After the report of other people’s idea of His personality, He asked the disciples themselves of their own opinion. This was intended to actually ascertain that the disciples had the right perception of His person. Peter answered thus: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Here is a confession of Jesus Christ as truly divine: a knowledge which gives life eternal. Having indicated that such knowledge was a revelation from the Father, Jesus now began to speak of His sufferings. He explained how He would lay down His life for mankind to have eternal life (Matthew 16:21). Also, He showed them that as He was ready and willing to suffer, so must they be prepared to lead a life of self-denial for His sake.
PETER’S CONFESSION OF FAITH (Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-29; 1 John 4: 15; Romans 10: 10)
Christ’s question is applicable to every Christian youth today. It requires personal response that determines individual position in Christ and in His kingdom. “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” To this, Peter answered: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”. This showed that they believed Jesus to be more than man. The word translated “rock” is not the same word as Peter. It was Peter’s confession that Christ referred to as the “rock”.
Question 2: What is the implication of Peter’s confession of Christ?
“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” (Matthew 16: 19). The basis of obtaining the kingdom keys was the correct discernment of Christ as the Messiah. Since God is not partial, every one that shares Peter’s conviction can also possess the keys to the kingdom. The keys by which one accesses all the benefits of the kingdom of God like salvation, sanctification, power, healing, deliverance, dominion, victories, etc., are in the effective involvement in gospel declaration, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16,17).
PREDICTION OF CHRIST’S SUFFERING AND NECESSITY OF SELF-DENIAL (Matthew 16:21-28; Mark 8:31-35; Luke 9:22-26).
Jesus predicts His death and resurrection. “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day” (Matthew 16:21). The main focus of His discussion here was His suffering and resurrection. On the basis of Peter’s confession, Jesus began to teach them about His death and resurrection which were the core of the gospel. This verse is based on Isaiah’s prophesy concerning the suffering Messiah. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). Worldly kings conquer other people by destroying them with weapons ruling with military power. But Jesus does not do that. Through His death, Jesus became the King of kings and Prince of peace who gives eternal life to all that believe in Him. He cleanses man’s guilty conscience by His blood. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus’ blood on the cross can cure all kinds of wounds we receive as a result of sin. Through His resurrection, Jesus opened the door to the kingdom of heaven and restored the paradise once again. He Will come again to take us to our eternal home. Unable to put up with the concept of a suffering and dying Christ, “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee” (Matthew 16:22). The first lecture was too hard for Peter to swallow. So he reacted emotionally based on his human thinking. To Peter, Jesus’ death and suffering were unacceptable. Peter heard Jesus’ prediction of His death. Actually Jesus also told him about His resurrection, but peter could not catch Jesus’ word about resurrection. He was fearful about the word “suffering”. In the plan of God, the cross was a non-negotiable experience for Christ.
Question 3a: Why did Peter initially oppose Christ’s suffering?
Question 3b: Why did the Lord rebuke Peter sharply?
“But he turned, and said unto Peter, get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23). One moment Peter was blessed and next moment he made a big mistake. We need a right attitude towards suffering. Peter had wanted to protect Jesus from any suffering. He was loyal and faithful from human point of view, but disobedient due to his refusal to accept Christ’s death. God’s will for Jesus was to die on the cross to save the world. But Peter rejected His plan. When God allows suffering and hardship, there is a reason for it. Rather than give way to human thinking, we should develop a positive attitude toward the cross instead of rejecting it.
PRECEPTS ON CROSS-BEARING (Matthew 16:24-28; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 9:24-27; Galatians 2:20)
“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:34,35). Having rebuked Peter for his error, Jesus now began to teach the disciples that the issue of suffering is not only attached to the personality of Christ but for all of His followers. One, a true disciple must not be too conscious of himself, attainments or prospect in life. Rather, he puts Christ and His demands first and above anything else. Two, he must daily endure the cross which is an emblem of shame. Whoever desires to wear the eternal crown must not shy away from bearing the cross. The believer’s life is hid in Christ and his well-being anchored on Him. Three, the believer must continually follow Christ. This implies focussing on Him and surrendering to His will at all times. As Christ yielded to the Father, even so must the disciple be completely committed to Him. The believer must fully identify with Christ’s person in the face of persecution, His passion for the salvation of the lost world as well as His project of enlarging the kingdom of God. Every true disciple must be involved in spreading Christ’s purposes no matter the cost.