7/22/15 The People Reject Their Messiah

caesarea philippi map

Jesus and His apostles leave the fishing boat in Capernaum and journey on foot to Caesarea Philippi, another primarily Gentile city to the north.  This city was built by Tetrarch Philip, brother of Herod Antipas, in honor of Caesar.  He added the name Philippi both to honor himself and to distinguish this city from the other Caesarea on the seacoast (often called Caesarea Maritima) which was built by Herod.  Some still call it by its former name, Paneas, in honor of the god Pan.  Mt. Hermon towers over the city, shielding it from the harsh heat that bears down on most of Judea, and even bringing snow in the winter.  The mountain also brings fresh, cold water to the inhabitants of the city.  Jesus brings His apostles here to enjoy some rest and time to pray in solitude.  Upon their arrival, they go immediately to a secluded place near the mountain.  Jesus goes off by Himself to pray, as the apostles stand watch nearby, talking amongst themselves and praying also.  After a while, His apostles join Him.  He looks up at their approach and smiles.  “Who do the people say that I AM?” He asks.  The apostles are a bit taken aback at the abrupt question.  Peter, always one to blurt out what is on his mind, answers, “Well, Rabbi, many people say that you are Elijah or John the Baptist come back from the dead.  Some say Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets.”  Jesus looks at them rather sadly, knowing that this response signifies a failure of the people to understand who He truly is, for even the greatest of the prophets falls far short of being the Messiah.

Matthew 16:13-14, Mark 8:27-28, Luke 9:18-19, http://restlesspilgrim.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/map.jpg

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