Summary: This is a lesson for primary age children used in the Awana program. It deals with Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
Jesus and his disciples were traveling in the north part of Galilee when Jesus asked them a question he had never asked before. “Who do the crowds say that I am?” That sounds like a strange question, but his men knew what he was talking about for the people who heard him preach and watched him perform miracles were full of ideas about who Jesus was.
So Jesus men said, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah, and still others , that one of the prophets has come back to life.” From this answer we can see that the crowds hearing Jesus teachings were assuming that something miraculous had happened. Though the Jews didn’t believe in reincarnation (that is a Hindu belief), they often spoke about the reappearance of Elijah or some other prophet to give a prophecy or to announce the coming of the Messiah. In saying this his men were admitting that the crowds were off target in their assumptions about Jesus true identity. They thought Jesus was somebody important, but they missed the truth of who Jesus really was.
Jesus next question cut to the heart of the matter. “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” It was obvious that the crowds had guessed wrong about Jesus. Would the disciples be able to get any closer to the truth?
Peter, who was often the first one of the disciples to speak up gave an immediate and matter-of-fact answer. He said, “The Christ, of God.” (Matthew’s account adds the phrase, “the Son of the living God.”) The point is that Peter’s answer was right on target. Though the crowds got it wrong, Peter got it completely right.
In order to hear what was said next we need to move over to the account in Matthew which is the only place where we see Jesus’ response to Peter’s bold confession.
17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
How did Peter know what was the right answer? He knew who Jesus was because (as Jesus said) The Father in Heaven had revealed it to him. Peter’s answer was not the result of reading a book, or taking a class, or doing a crowd survey. His answer came from God revealing the truth to him; from God’s mouth to his obedient heart. What Peter confessed that day was not the first time such things had been said. In fact, if we go back to the night when Jesus calmed the storm after inviting Peter to walk with him on the water, you may recall that on that occasion, all the men in the boat, said the same thing at the same time. “Truly you are the son of God.” (Matt. 14:33) This is Peter repeating what all of them had said before.