16:13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
16:14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
16:17 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.
16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
16:20 Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
In the Name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit. AMEN.
The lectionary unfortunately splits this story in the middle and assigns the parts to successive Sundays.We need to hear both pieces together;
16:21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
16:22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.”
16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
16:25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
16:26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
16:27 “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.
16:28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
What one immediately notices is that Peter’s remarkable confession in this week’s reading is paralleled with the blubber of all blubbers in next week’s text. Which also explains the disturbing odd censoring note today’s reading ends upon. Of course, Jesus sternly ordered the disciples not to tell, because they, as represented by Peter, obviously still don’t get it!!! What it is going to take for them to get it is nothing less than the passion, death & resurrection of God’s anointed son. Whatever the (divinely inspired) confession “You are the Anointed, the Son of the Living God!” might mean, according to Jesus himself, it invariably includes suffering, the cross, death, & God’s vindication/resurrection. Peter’s divinely inspired confession is paralleled with a satanicly inspired misdirection. Jesus self-identity is clear. He is not an anointed son who avoids the cross & consequently his followers/disciples ought not expect less. Confession of faith is articulated less by what we say & more by how we live out lives of faithful discipleship. Or to put it another way, who we say Jesus is has consequences for how one lives. “Who do you say I am?”
the Reverend Brian Heinrich