When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16)
We said that the Baptism of the Lord Jesus was the Epiphany of the epiphanies. God the Father spoke from heaven, testifying that Jesus is His beloved Son. How fitting it is to have the Confession of Peter observed within the Season of the Epiphany. Peter was first among the apostles being to confess that Jesus is the Messiah. The Apostle Peter’s earthly testimony compliments the heavenly one.
Peter testimony was quite remarkable. At a time when there was much confusion and speculation about who Jesus was, Peter had come to a clear and concise conclusion about Jesus’ identity. He did not do so by his own reasoning alone, however:
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. (Matthew 16:17)
Peter not only confessed Jesus as the Messiah. He also denied Jesus:
Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:34)
Jesus gave us this warning concerning our confession:
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)
Peter discovered that he could not continue in the Faith on his own strength. He needed the strength that God provided him through his Lord Jesus. We remember that Jesus forgave Peter and restored him after the resurrection. Our confession is important. Our continual confession is all important.
In Peter’s own words:
“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Today many people are confused about who Jesus is and what is His place in history. Many so called biblical scholars have disputed the person and ministry of Jesus. Yet, we have God’s testimony and Peter’s testimony recorded in Holy Scripture. What will be our recorded testimony? How will we confess Jesus before men? That will be all important to each one of us. Like Peter, we will need God’s help to build and strengthen our faith.