What does it say?
Jesus had done many miraculous signs; healing all who were brought to him of their illnesses and casting out demons, yet the Pharisees and Sadducees asked to see a sign from heaven but the only sign that Jesus would give them is the sign of Jonah. Jesus warned his disciples to beware of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees but called their teaching leaven, so the disciples thought he was speaking of bread; therefore, he had to explain the meaning to them. Jesus asked who do people say that he is and they answered a prophet. Then Jesus asked, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter spoke the truth: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus called Peter blessed and said that it was God who revealed this to him and not man. Jesus said that on this confession, he will build his church, and he said, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” However, Jesus warned the disciples not to tell anyone at this time. From this time Jesus began to teach the disciples that he would suffer and be killed and raised from the dead on the third day but Peter rebuked him and Jesus called Peter Satan, and a stumbling block, because Peter was thinking in the flesh. Jesus told his disciples that to come after him, you must deny yourself, and be willing to die, rather than deny his name; trusting that Jesus will return in the glory of God and sit down on his throne to judge the people on the earth. Jesus said that some of those standing there will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.
What does it mean?
There are a lot of people who believe varying things about Jesus. Some say that he was a good teacher or a charismatic leader, but none of these will do. There are only three possibilities: Jesus was either a liar, insane or God in human flesh. The question that Jesus poses to the disciples is the greatest question of all: “Who do you say that I am?” The answer that Peter gave is the answer on which the church of Jesus Christ is built. Christology is the study of Christ. Who was/is Jesus Christ. Was he only a man? Was he a Spirit because even Jesus said that God is Spirit? (Jn 4:24) The answer on which the church is built is two fold:
- That Jesus is the Christ which means he is of the lineage of king David; therefore, he has the right to sit down on David’s throne. This is the tile the the Roman’s would have a problem with.
- That Jesus is the Son of God. This is the title that the Jews had a problem with because by claiming this title for himself, the Jews understood that he was claiming to be God, yet he was obviously a man. (Jn 10:33)
What did Jesus mean by keys of the kingdom? I do not know but I can safely say that it has nothing to do with Popes. Peter who was called blessed by Jesus for his confession but is later called Satan, and a stumbling block for rebuking Jesus. We need to be very careful to accept the word of God and not make it mean what we want it to mean. Jesus is God’s Christ, and we must follow him, and not make him into what we want him to be. If it leads to death, we must be willing to follow the Christ of the Bible, and not the Christ of man. Government and false religion have always been the persecutors of Jesus followers. Some of the disciples who heard these things would depart from Jesus. However, the ones who remained would see Jesus coming into his kingdom. Jesus has already been inaugurated King but he has not yet returned in the glory of God to sit down on his throne.
What shall I do?
I shall confess before God and before man that Jesus is the Christ, a King and the Son of God, God in human flesh. I shall follow the word of Jesus Christ and not the word of man. I shall not merge human reason into my belief but trust the word of God alone. I shall follow Jesus no matter what it might cost me in the here and now because I know that Jesus will return in the glory of God to judge those who persecute his church. He promises to wipe away every tear from our eyes, and he promises that when that time comes, there will be no more death, crying or pain. (Rev 21:4) I shall follow Jesus Christ as Lord and trust him as Savior, for he is the God-Man who has all authority in heaven and on earth. I shall trust in the name of Jesus Christ to save me from death and hell.