What Does Matthew 16:17 Mean?

And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 16:17(NASB)
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Verse Thoughts

Although He was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Christ's rejection began in chapter 12, when the Jewish leaders challenged His authority and accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub. From that time on, He began to teach in parables, so His Jewish listeners would not understand the meaning of His words - and would crucify their Messiah "in ignorance" - for to reject the Prince of Life, knowingly, would place these sinners under eternal condemnation.

After His resurrection, many of these same Jewish hearers would realise the serious mistake of rejecting their Messiah; repent of their sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. A second reason for teaching the 'mysteries of the kingdom' through parables was to prepare His chosen apostles for the enormous task that would face them, once He was crucified; dead; buried; risen and ascended to His Father in heaven.

"Who do people say who I, the Son of Man am?" was Christ's preparatory question to the twelve. The answers they gave included:- John the Baptist; Elijah; Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Jesus knew the futility of these answers, for these men of God testified of HIM - Who alone has the words of eternal life.

The fallow ground of His disciple's minds were being prepared for Christ's follow-up question: "But who do you say that I am?" This is the single, most important issue that every member of the human race must consider: "What think ye of Christ?" The answer is critical, for the one who believes is not condemned but receives the light of life. However, he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

It was Simon Peter who was the spokesman for them all: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God", was Peter's prompt acclamation. He identified Jesus as the Anointed of God, about Whom the prophets spoke. He acknowledged His deity and bore witness that the Son of Man was the eternal Son of the living God.

"No doubt the Holy Spirit had been convicting the heart of this rough fisherman... of sin, righteousness and judgement, but Peter exercised His freewill to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved - for when he delivered his earth-shattering reply, Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven. 

Peter's declaration was true, and because of his willingness to testify to the truth, he received a great blessing from the Lord: "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona," was Christ's joyful response to his confession. Peter was blessed by God and given a new name, because unlike the multitudes who followed Jesus for their own personal reasons, his heart had been opened by the promptings of the Spirit - Who gave him wisdom; an understanding heart and a willingness to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as his God and Saviour.

Simon, son of Jonah, was mightily blessed, because this revelation of the Person of Christ was not reached through human deduction or fleshly intelligence. This earth-shattering revelation came from:  "My Father - Who is in heaven."

The question the disciples were given that day is the same question that every one of us has answered - or will have to face at some time in our life. There is only one answer: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God". But the blessing we all receive when we confess this truth and place our faith in HIM - is the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. To Him be all praise and glory.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, what a blessing it is to confess Jesus Christ as God and Saviour. Thank You for making Yourself known to the children of men and thank You for convicting me of sin, righteousness and judgement, so that with Simon Peter, I too can declare with all the saints, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Continue to guide me into all truth I pray, and may my life be a testimony to the truth that Christ alone has the words of eternal life - this I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

Picture courtesy of Good News Productions Int.

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