Gradual confession

Matthew 16:13-20

The conversation at Caesarea Philippi is a defining moment for the synoptic Gospels, although only Matthew and Mark name it as the location for Peter’s confession, “You are the Messiah.” For the Gospel narratives as post-Easter interpretations, reflections and perspectives, who Jesus is constitutes the most important question for those early communities that claimed belief in him. Putting the question on the lips of Jesus himself makes it a question for all believers, one which they must answer for themselves. The text itself indicates this deliberate move, not only in content but also in form. Jesus first asks the question from a third-person perspective: “Who do people say that I am?” But then the grammar shifts to the second person, “Who do you say that I am?”


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