On one occasion as Jesus and His disciples were traveling through northern Palestine in the area of Caesarea Philippi, He asked them what the people were saying about Him: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They responded, “Some say John the Baptist; and others Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Jesus then asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” It was then that Peter spoke up and confidently answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16.13-20).
That’s a familiar episode in the life of our Lord. We’ve heard it many times. But it’s helpful for us to review it often and think about the significance of its meaning.
Peter affirmed the person and purpose of Jesus and His mission. Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew term Messiah. They mean exactly the same thing, “the anointed one.” Jesus is God’s “anointed”: the One God approved, ordained, selected, and sent into the world to be the Savior of the world. That’s the gospel, the “good news” that we continue to proclaim – “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Years later, Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15.1-4, outlined the gospel’s message with these simple affirmations:
Christ died for our sins,
He was buried,
He was raised from the dead,
And now He is alive!
Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice to redeem us from sin. That’s the good news of blessing and assurance we Christians carry within our hearts and acknowledge to others. Without Jesus, we are nothing. Let us never forget that. We belong to Jesus. Our purpose is to glorify God by the way we live and make known to the world that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.