Yeshua put the question directly to His disciples. “But who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29). As the foremost disciple among the twelve, Simon Peter spoke for the group. He answered simply and directly on behalf of the twelve: “You are the Messiah.”
All three synoptic accounts offer slightly different versions of Peter’s confession:
- Matthew 16:16: You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
- Mark 8:29: You are the Messiah.
- Luke 9:20: The Messiah of God.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Simon Peter says, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
The Master praises Simon Peter and proclaims him blessed above the other disciples because the secret had been revealed to him. Somehow, Simon Peter had grasped the divine nature of the Master’s concealed spiritual identity, the “Son of God.” Flesh and blood had not revealed the secret to Simon. The Master Himself had not revealed it or made that claim before His disciples. He never told His disciples, “I am the Son of God,” nor had He allowed even the evil spirits to speak those words. Though He had often alluded to the matter, hinted toward it, and spoken in veiled language, He had kept the revelation quiet.
Yeshua recognized that Simon Peter’s revelation came not from human beings but from God because He Himself had once received an identical revelation from heaven. On the day of His immersion, our Master Yeshua heard the same pronouncement spoken over Him when a voice came out of the heavens and declared: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased” (Mark 1:11). Simon Peter had not been there that day, nor had he or anyone else heard that voice speak from heaven, but the Father had revealed the truth to Peter nonetheless.
Simon Peter’s confession brings a watershed moment in the story of the chronicles of the Messiah. The gospel narrative, up until this point, works toward that confession: Yeshua of Nazareth is the promised Messiah. The confession required a declaration of faith. As of yet, Yeshua had not accomplished the messianic mission predicted by the prophets: the defeat of Israel’s enemies, the restoration of Zion, the ingathering of the exiles, the re-establishment of the throne of David, the institution of the Messianic Era, and the resurrection of the dead.
The declaration still requires the same leap of faith. To this day, those who confess Yeshua as the Messiah are called “believers” because we believe He will accomplish the messianic work and take up the throne of His father David on the evidence of His resurrection from the dead.
Simon Peter made the leap of faith and spoke the words. From that moment, the narrative turns toward Jerusalem and the passion story.