Summary: Print for young seekers/believers
“AND JESUS WENT OUT, ALONG WITH HIS DISCIPLES, TO THE VILLAGES OF CAESAREA PHILIPPI; AND ON THE WAY HE QUESTIONED HIS DISCIPLES, SAYING TO THEM, “WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM?” 28 AND THEY TOLD HIM, SAYING “JOHN THE BAPTIST; AND OTHERS SAY ELIJAH; BUT OTHERS, ONE OF THE PROPHETS.” 29 AND HE CONTINUED BY QUESTIONING THEM, “BUT WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” PETER ANSWERED AND SAID TO HIM, “THOU ART THE CHRIST.”
Here are some interesting facts that make this account come to life. Caesarea Philippi was located in the far North of Galilee. If you find a map (perhaps in the back of your Bible) of the times of Christ, you’ll see that its location was quite a distance North of the area where Jesus spent most of His ministry.
So He apparently took His disciples there for a very specific reason. We’re only told that He asked them this question there. That’s all. The next thing we know, they’re headed back South again.
So what might that specific reason be?
Well, history tells us that the region around Caesarea Philippi was covered with temples to idol gods. Many of them. I’ve read that in the place they probably stood you could turn a full circle and see temples all around you.
So if the temples were there, then so were the demonic spiritual forces that inhabit areas where false gods are worshipped.
One of those idol gods worshipped there was Pan, who was called by his followers, “ruler of all nature”. He was the one they would pray to for good crops and especially for healthy flocks.
Now picture this. Right here in the middle of all this spiritual darkness; right here with, well, who knows...myriads of Satan’s demons all around, Jesus extracts from His disciples a declaration of who He is.
There were many who did not really know Him. They heard His teaching; they were even recipients of His miraculous healings; they had seen Him multiply a few fish and loaves of bread to feed over five thousand people; but they didn’t really know Him.
They were saying, “He is John the Baptist” or “He is Elijah” or, “He is one of the other great prophets, come back to life”. But it was only the ones closest to Him who really recognized Him. Yes, the words were Peter’s, but he was always the spokesman for the group, so he’s the one we see quoted.
“Thou art the Christ”. How the forces of evil must have cringed and run for their dark corners when this simple human made such a profound confession! When I get to Heaven, I want to ask, “Exactly what happened in the spiritual realm, the day Peter declared You as the REAL God, in front of all those false gods?”
Well, I dunno. Maybe then, all things being in proper perspective, questions like that will seem trivial. Maybe we'll just know those things upon being glorified.
Let’s just leave these verses with this in mind; it was Jesus’ friends; His closest followers, who really knew who He was.
WHO DO YOU SAY HE IS?