“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This is the foundational statement upon which the church of Jesus Christ is built. At least that’s the way Jesus put it and since He is the One who is building His church, I think He would know.
When Peter made this declaration, Jesus said that he was blessed by the Father to have had this revealed to him. Last month we looked at the importance of Jesus being the Christ, the anointed Redeemer sent from the Father to rescue us from the curse of sin. Notice the revelation doesn’t end there. It could be imagined that the promised Messiah/Redeemer could have been another human being. Likely, that is what most of the people of Israel were actually looking for. A man could have fulfilled the role of “the seed of Abraham”, “another prophet like Moses” or “the root of Jesse, the son of David.” Like Moses or David a man could have led them to freedom and to victory over their enemies. Peter is given the unexpected piece of the puzzle; Son of the Living God.
Through the miracles, the teaching and the profound love of this man Jesus, Peter saw something more, something almost unimaginable for a monotheistic Jew. He was shown that the Living God- the God who formed the universe out of nothing, the God who created with just a word, who breathed life into mankind and who displayed His greatness and glory to the people of Israel-has a Son, a co-eternal, co-equal Son. One, who as Paul says, is the exact representation of God’s being. Standing there in the presence of Jesus and the other disciples, he blurts out words that must have sounded like blasphemy as they spilled out. Yet, Jesus does not deny them or rebuke them or dismiss them. He owns them and affirms them by implying that it is this understanding of who He is upon which He will build a new nation, a new people through whom the glory of God would be displayed. Peter would later write to the church, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God…”
So we learn from Peter’s confession and the words of Jesus elsewhere that the one true God, the Living God is a Trinity, One God in three Persons. The best way that I know how to explain that is everything that God the Father is, the Son and Spirit are. Everything that the Son is, the Father and Spirit are and everything that the Spirit is, the Father and Son are. As the Son of the Living God, Jesus is the all wise, all knowing ruler and sustainer of all things. He is the rightful Judge of all the earth and all humanity will one day bow to Him. When He says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through me” He means it. This means He’s more than just another religious leader pointing the way to God, illuminating the path so to speak. If He is the Son of the Living God, then what He says is life and truth and all other options are off the table. It means His words are not simply suggestions or good ideas for us to incorporate into our lives when we get the chance.
I know this is an uncomfortable thought, but one day each and every one of us who claim the name of Christ are going to stand before the Son of the Living God and we will give an account to Him in regard to what we did with the things He said. In that moment, all of our excuses, rationalizations and justifications will be exposed for what they are: unbelief. It’s important that we put away our faulty notions of who Jesus is. Peter said He is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” and that has some pretty serious implications for who we are and how we live as part of the Church that He is building.