“And who do you say that I AM?” Jesus continues. Once again, it is Peter who responds, rather impetuously, “Oh, Rabbi, You are the Messiah, Son of the Living God!” Jesus smiles, knowing that Peter speaks the hearts of all of them, and that this response brings their relationship to a new level. Jesus has always known their hearts, but has continually asked questions like this one, designed to make them look inward and make difficult decisions that will ultimately determine their eternal destiny. Now they know that they are allied with Jesus as their Messiah, for good or bad, for all eternity. They do not yet understand what that will mean for them, though. Jesus tells Peter, “You, Simon, son of Jonah, are truly blessed, because you did not receive this knowledge from men. God Himself has revealed this to you. Several months ago, I began to call you Peter, which is Greek for “rock,” because of your steadfastness in following Me. Now you have earned this name again because you now declare your faith in Me. And I tell you, I will build My Church on this Rock, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it!” The apostles all sit up a little straighter at this pronouncement. “I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. You will be My ambassadors on earth. I have taught you all about the things of Heaven and the things of this world, both old and new, and it will be your job to teach all the people. What you deem to be right and good on earth will also be deemed the same in Heaven, and whatever you deem evil on earth will be deemed evil in Heaven. But take care to tell no one of any of this, for they will be against you.” There are now almost identical looks of astonishment on the faces of all the apostles.
Matthew 16:15-20, Mark 8:29-30, Luke 9:20