The Gospels – The Gospel According to Matthew
Jesus’ real Identity and Peter’s declaration
Matthew 16:13-20 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare’a Philip’pi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” (14) And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli’jah, 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-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. (18) And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death 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.” (20) Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
This has been misinterpreted by so many people and some hardly credulous practices have sprung up as a result of this misinterpretation. When Peter issued this declaration, it was issued through the conviction he had arrived at through his intuitive perception and this is the reason Jesus said that flesh and blood had not revealed the answer to him. Meaning it is not the intellect or the pondering therefrom which have allowed him to arrive at this conclusion. Spiritual insight is what gave him the answer to this.
Peter’s simplicity of intuitive perception allowed him to receive the enlightenment as to the identity of the Son of God. Nothing else. Not the greatest intellect could have achieved this and just this would have been an obstacle. Peter’s refined intuition allowed him to achieve this. The rock that Jesus mentioned had nothing to do with Peter personally. The simplicity of intuitive perception which Peter demonstrated and which allowed him to recognize the Son of God is the rock that Jesus was talking about. It is on this kind of simple and refined intuitive faculty that the future is to be based. In fact the future Kingdom of God would be impossible without it or to put it differently anyone without this simplicity of intuitive perception would not be able to experience the Kingdom of God.
It boils down to what Jesus had been saying all along. The pure intuition, the simplicity and the avoidance of intellectual sophistry is so powerful that there is nothing that we will not be able to achieve if we have it. Nothing will be closed to ones who have kept their intuitions pure. The intuition, as has been mentioned is the instrument of the spirit. If this intuition is pure then the human being concerned is directly connected to the Kingdom of Heaven in Paradise, to the purity that animates this highest Kingdom. He may still be on earth but through the quality of a pure intuition, this radiation that streams from him is able to reach all the way to the Spiritual realm, whereby such a one has the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. He has access to it through the quality of his pure intuition.
Anyone with this quality will never have to suffer from spiritual death because he is always connected to his home Paradise therefore avoiding the disintegration in the world of matter which brings disintegration of the spirit and spiritual death in its wake. He need not fear spiritual death or hell because the purity of his intuition allows him to avoid such dark regions. He need not fear physical death either as this brings him release and he is then free to go back home from whence he came.
Jesus always spoke in a comprehensive manner and it would never have been His intention to make the human being Peter into what have become the general and accepted belief of so many people. Jesus, Who is the Son of God could see things in a wider perspective and spoke also in such a manner. The simplicity and the purity of intuitive perception shown by Peter will be the rock of which Jesus will now build His Kingdom. We could also say this in another way that only those who possess this quality will be allowed to see this Kingdom. It is not open to people who do not possess this childlike quality. This childlike quality is the key to the Kingdom of Heaven. This quality is the weapon against going to hell and spiritual death.
Matthew 16:21-23 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 and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, 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 on the side of God, but of men.”
It is doubtful whether Jesus would have issued this statement. He would never have called one of His disciples by this name. Jesus was never known for sharp temper and it is inconceivable that He could be angry in this way but we will explore this later. Please see the article “Get thee behind me Satan…”
Matthew 16:24-28 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (25) For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (26) For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? (27) For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. (28) Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
In the same vein as before, Jesus tells His disciples of the struggle ahead. He hinted that the struggle might involve the possibility of their losing their lives. Then He gave the assurance that losing their earthly lives is nothing compared to losing their spiritual lives. As He said before it is better to fear He Who can destroy both body and spirit than those who can only destroy the body.
Of what use will it be to value one’s earthly life more than the spiritual one, which is the real life. The loss of the spiritual life is accompanied by torments that are unimaginable and ultimately involves the erasure from the Book of Life tantamount to the loss of all personal conscious existence.
Even if we gain all that is material, if we control all the material wealth on this earth, it will only be temporary and we will have to leave it behind one day. There is no question of an eternal life on earth.
He referred again to the Son of Man and that this Son of Man is to come to repay every man his debts. We would have noticed that Jesus always mentioned the Son of Man in connection with the end time and the Judgment. He also as we saw earlier mentioned the Son of Man in connection with planting of spiritual seeds. The time has not yet come to discuss the Son of Man and it will be reserved for a later time when Jesus spoke more fully about Him.