Matthew 16:15-16, “‘But what about you?’ he (Jesus) asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.’” (NIV)
Confession – the word seems to carry a negative connotation in the modern era. It is typically associated with an admission of wrongdoing, or offering a guilt-driven statement. But to confess literally means “to speak”. Confessions are a part of our everyday conversations. What we feel inside makes itself known in our selection of words, or our confessions.
Confessions mean something to God. He desires honesty and humility in our speech. He listens intently to what we have to say. Granted, He already knows what we think and feel, but verbalizing our hurts, needs, concerns, praises, and prayers to Him solidifies our relationship with Him. Confessions confirm our heart’s devotion.
In Matthew 16 something incredible occurred in the most unlikely of places. At Caesarea Philippi, Peter took a bold stance and proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of the living God. Peter’s confession was one of the greatest, and most inspiring, declarations ever made. Caesarea Philippi was a city with a long-standing history of pagan worship and idolatry. It was once a center for Baal adoration in the Old Testament. Baal was the Canaanite god of sun and storms. People believed Baal blessed fertility in regard to both agriculture and childbirth. Centuries later, Greek inhabitants built a shrine for the god Pan. Pan, like Baal, was associated with nature, and thereby abundance. Then under Roman rule, Caesarea Philippi became the location of a white marble temple built by Herod the Great, king of the Jews, to honor, or better yet adore, a man: Emperor Augustus.
In a city notorious for false worship, Jesus pointedly asked His twelve closest followers, “Who do you say I am?” It is a candid question, and one everyone will have to account for someday. Peter’s response revealed a belief that Jesus was divine, and therefore heaven and earth’s true, eternal King. Peter’s confession countered everything Caesarea Philippi represented. The grandeur and artificial beauty of the city’s structures, including the marble temple, concealed the ugly blight of sin that permeated its streets. But under the wicked backdrop, Peter realized, through God’s prodding, that Jesus was something more than anyone could have imagined. Jesus was, and is, the holy God in human form.
We all must face God’s judgment when this life ends. In the presence of Jesus, we will affirm whether we recognized Him as our Savior. Judgment will be bitter for most. Many people will be told to depart God’s everlasting presence because they never accepted Jesus as Lord – as Messiah. The remaining few who chose to confess Jesus as Lord, as Messiah, will be ushered into heaven, where we will confess, and praise, God’s glory for eternity.*
Kevin Orr (10/12/2018)
*Portions of this blog post is extracted from portions of my self-published, now discontinued, book titled “Love Has Come: A Twenty-Eight Day Journey Through The Gospel Of Matthew”, which was originally published in 2010 (Pleasant Word, a division of WinePress Group)