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asked him if he saw any thing? And he looked up, and said, “I see men like trees, but walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up; and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. And Jesus sent him away to his house, saying, “ Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any that live in the town."
PETER ACKNOWLEDGES JESUS TO BE THE MESSIAH: CHRIST FORETELLS HIS SUFFERINGS.
(Matt. xvi. 13-28; Mark viii. 34–38, ix. 1.)
WHEN Jesus came into the district of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, “ Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" And they said, “ Some say that thou art John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He saith unto
them, “ But whom say ye that I am ?” Simon Peter answered and said, “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus answered and said unto him, “ Blessed art thou, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to thee, but my Father, who is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, Thy name is Peter (a Rock); and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of death shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he charged his disciples, that they should tell no man that he was the Christ.
From that time forth Jesus began to declare unto his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and
scribes, and be put to death, and raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, “ Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee.” But he turned and said unto Peter, “ Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art a stumbling-block unto me, for thou mindest, not the things of God, but the things of men.”
And when he had called the people unto him, with his disciples also, he said unto them, “ Whosoever is willing to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me; for whosoever is anxious to save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall be willing to lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? Or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? Whosoever, therefore, shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, of him also will the Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels. Verily I say unto you, there are some standing here, who shall not taste of death, until they see the kingdom of God come with
Peter frankly and honestly confessed his belief that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, and for this confession was highly commended by our blessed Saviour. When, however, this disciple expressed his unwillingness that his Master should undergo sufferings and death, our Lord severely rebuked Peter, because he shewed that he was unwilling to submit to the will and purposes of God.
We may hence learn that it is our duty to bear whatever God may see fit to appoint for us or for those whom we love, and also that we must not be afraid to declare what we think respecting Christ.
Circumstances, indeed, are altered since Peter made his confession. They who then believed in our Saviour and followed him, were persecuted and often put to death. Now most men, in this country at least, are Christians, and we are in no danger of similar sufferings on account of our belief in Christ. Sometimes, however, we may meet with wicked people, who may laugh at us because we are religious; or, as Christians differ in their religious opinions, our particular sentiments may bring upon us reproach or injury in our worldly concerns. Should this be the case, we must still firmly maintain what we believe to be right, remembering the words of Him who came to bear witness to the truth, “Whosoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.