Big Idea: God has revealed Himself to us in Jesus.
Key Verse: Matthew 16:17
Jesus took His disciples near a city called Caeserea Phillipi and asked them who people thought He was. Peter, as the spokesman for the group, offered various identifications of Jesus as one of the different prophets resurrected. But Jesus moved to a much more important question when He asked them “But who do you say that that I am?”
Peter’s answer was bold and correct: “You are the Christ/the Messiah and the Son of the Living God.” Jesus’ response was surprising: Simon son of Jonah was a blessed man, because He was not offering human answers, but the answer given to Him by God the Father. God had chosen to reveal who He was to Peter, by introducing Peter to Jesus. Jesus promised that this confession in Him was the rock on which He would build His church, which would never be overcome.
Older kids: The Romans had built a temple to worship Caesar Augustus in the city the disciples were overlooking. Jesus was presenting His disciples with a choice: who would they confess as lord? Within a few decades of Jesus’ death, Christians would be executed for refusing to worship Caesar. While individual Christians might lose their lives, the institution of the Church would persist on this rock.
Younger kids: Christ was not Jesus’ name, but His title. Christ Jesus and Jesus Christ are comparable to saying King George or George the King.
We are in the same position as Peter, because that church Jesus built has continued through the ages. Sometimes His churches were in hiding, sometimes they were strong, sometimes they were many and sometimes they were few, but they continued confessing His name and were never overcome. Like Peter, this is not a human triumph, but a divine one. We could never know what this King is like by our own reasoning or strength, but we know who He is because He has come and revealed Himself to us. We do not need to wonder what God is like, because He has shown us who He is by becoming a man and dying on the cross for us. We could never climb up to Him, but in love, He has come down to us.
Discussion idea: How does the way God has revealed Himself to us in Jesus give us confidence in good times and bad? How does Jesus’ promise that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His church encourage us to be bold even in the face of loss?
Prayer focus: Pray that, just as God reveals Himself to us when it is time to be saved, that He would continue to reveal His will for our lives to us as we learn more about Jesus.