Rumors about Jesus: Matthew 16:13-20

Focus Passage: Matthew 16:13-20 (NIV)

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, 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 ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Read Matthew 16:13-20 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

During one of the times Jesus was traveling with His disciples, He asks them a question that is both insightful and profound. While this question leads into another question and ultimately into a response Peter gives that Jesus praises him for, the first “lead-in” question, is very interesting in my mind.

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’” (v. 13)

This question stands out in my mind because by this time in Jesus’ ministry, His disciples had been with Him for more than a year or two, and they had traveled around to enough places that the whole country knew about Him. However, Jesus’ question is more about wanting to know what people think. With everything that He has done, Jesus wants to know the general consensus surrounding who the crowds think He is.

The response the disciples give is interesting as well. They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (v. 14)

Some might point to the response the disciples give as pointing to a belief during that time in reincarnation. This would imply that Jesus reincarnated from one of these historical figures. But while this is a possible theory, a stronger theory is that these people believed in God’s ability to restore life (i.e. to resurrect someone). There are examples of resurrection in the Old Testament, and several of Jesus’ conversations center around the theme of resurrection.

But the big thing I see in this initial question and the disciple’s response is this: If we choose to stand out from the crowd by doing or saying anything significant, people will talk and rumors will circulate. None of the theories surrounding Jesus in the disciple’s response were correct, but that didn’t stop Jesus. If we stand out from the crowd, people might believe and/or spread lies about us as well. It is up to us to not let the rumors irritate us or knock us off the track God has placed before each of us.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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