Opinions Concerning Jesus
Matthew 16:13
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?…

It seems strange that our Lord should want to know men's opinions about himself. Two explanations may be given.

1. These disciples mixed more freely with the people than Jesus could, and were more likely to know the common talk. So they could give him information which would materially help his work.

2. Our Lord's question may only have been meant to introduce a conversation, through which he might teach those disciples the higher truth concerning himself. Jesus removed into the district of Caesarea Philippi for the sake of retirement and safety. His work in Galilee was virtually finished, and something in the nature of a review of that work, and estimate of its results, was befitting. Our Lord's work, in its higher aspect, was a self-revelation. What he said, and what he did, were intended to show what he was. The mystery of the Person of Christ is the subject of the gospel. So our Lord, in asking, "Whom do men say that I am?" really proposed to test the results of his self-manifestation in mighty deeds and gracious words and holy example.

I. A POOR OPINION CONCERNING JESUS. "Some say that thou art John the Baptist." This was a poor opinion. There was no personal thought or consideration in it. In a time serving sort of way, some folk had taken up the excited exclamation of Herod, "It is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead." It was foolish, for there was no real likeness between the two men, or their two missions. Jesus could never have even suggested rough, half-clad John. Beware of taking up something somebody else is pleased to say about Jesus. Only very poor opinions of him can be gained in that way.

II. A BETTER OPINION CONCERNING JESUS. "Some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets." Elijah was a bad guess; for Jesus was in no way like him, Elisha would have been better. Jeremias was not a bad guess. And it was an advance to liken Christ to one of the spiritual, teaching prophets. It should be borne in mind that there was an almost universal expectation of the return of Elijah, and that this had grown to be a national mania, so that every unusual man was suspected to be Elijah.

III. A BEST OPINION CONCERNING JESUS. Peter may have been actually in advance of the other disciples in discerning the mystery of Christ; or he may only have been spokesman of a general apprehension. The disciples saw two things; but they involved more than they then saw.

1. Jesus was Messiah; but not the kind of Messiah anticipated.

2. Jesus was Son of the living God; and this involved that Jesus was doing his Father's moral work in the souls of men. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

WEB: Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"

Opinion Sought by a Question
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