We are going to being a series where we will walk through 1 Peter. The book takes place in an area what is now lower Turkey. Christians were spread out during that time, and Peter will ask, “Who are we? And why do we go through these things?”
Today we will start in the book of Matthew where we get a background of Peter. Peter is all over the map in his personality and relationship with Jesus. We can see him being at the most worst by denying Jesus and then at the most important as the primary leader to proclaim the life of Jesus and making disciples.
The concept of the “Son of Man” was not foreign to the Israelites. It was that promised messiah as spoken in scripture. But Jesus is asking what the people are saying. This was to get the disciples thinking. Some said that it was someone already past (i.e. Elijah, Jeremiah, prophets) some alive at that time (i.e. John the Baptist.)
But Peter responds impulsively that Jesus is the Messiah. We can see the impulsiveness of Peter in other areas such as the last supper and when he cuts off the ear of the soldier coming for Jesus. It gets him in trouble, but in this answer he responds correctly. Jesus blesses Peter and confirms that it was the Father who revealed that to Peter.
Jesus then calls out Peter, but then states that on this rock Jesus will build his church. Since around the third century, this passage has been argued on its meaning. Peter, in greek petros, means little rock. But the rock mentioned here was petra meaning big rock. It was a play on the meaning of Peter’s name, but some throughout history have thought it means more. The Catholic religion uses this as the basis to say that Peter was the first pope. But Peter in his writings never proclaims himself as the rock of the church. But the rock of salvation, of belief that Jesus is Messiah, is what is being spoken of as the rock on which the church was built.
Jesus then explains what is going to happen with his future death and resurrection. At this point, Peter begins to rebuke Jesus. We don’t know if what was being said was not registering with him, or if he thought he knew best and believed that Jesus was wrong. But as the confrontation takes place, Jesus tells Peter to, “Get behind me Satan!” Can you imagine how Peter felt being called Satan? The enemy. There was no guarantee that Peter would never struggle with Jesus’ message. He was human like all of us. Jesus has gone from blessing Peter to calling him Satan and saying he was a stumbling block.
As we begin to read 1 Peter, we can keep in mind Peter’s background. The struggles, the denials, the stumbles, and the blessings. We can then see how God works through human disciples to bring glory to him and bringing revelation of the salvation through Jesus.
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. (ESV)
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (ESV)
20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (ESV)