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October 19 Today’s Reading: Luke 8-9
“The Christ of God.”
At first glance, the careless reader might pass over these words, thinking there is nothing extraordinary in them; but such thoughts arise from great ignorance. Peter’s confession here is truly remarkable. The more I study it, the more remarkable and blessed it appears. Consider it carefully.
This confession made Peter an oddity among his peers. It put him at odds with the rest of the world. Few were with Christ in those days. Many were against Him. But Peter confessed Him. When the rulers of his nation and all the religious people he knew, the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the priests and the people, all opposed Christ, Peter confessed Him. Many would gladly acknowledge Him to be a prophet, even a great prophet, even a resurrected prophet. But Peter confessed Him to be “The Christ of God.”
That put him at odds with the rest of the world; and that confession puts God’s elect at odds with the world today, especially the religious world. Yes, all who call themselves Christians use the very words Peter used; but few, very few, know the meaning of this confession. To say that “Jesus is the Christ,” to confess that Jesus of Nazareth is God incarnate, that He actually accomplished all that the Scriptures of the Old Testament said He would accomplish (Daniel 9:24; Isaiah 53). To confess that “Jesus is the Christ” is to assert that He brought in everlasting righteousness, made an end of transgression, and fully, effectually redeemed all God’s elect.
This confession of faith came from a man of tremendous faith, character, commitment, and zeal. Say what you will about Peter. He had his faults, I know. But do not underrate this man. His heart was under the rule of Christ. Grace is evident in him. Peter was a true-hearted, fervent, faithful servant of our God.
Matthew gives a more complete record of Peter’s confession. Looking in the face of the Son of man, Peter said to that man, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Peter confessed that the Man Jesus is both the Christ of God and God the Son in our nature. He confessed that the despised Nazarene is the Christ, the promised Messiah, the One of whom all the prophets spoke. In a word, he confessed that the Man, Jesus, is God come to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). I do not know what all Peter knew or did not know. But he knew Christ and confessed Him. Do you?
“With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” — Our confession does not save us; but it is a confession with reference to salvation accomplished by the Son of God. True, saving faith knows and confesses that the Man Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ of God. — “He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.”
Peter was, at times, erring and unstable, in some matters ignorant and unbelieving, far too proud, and far too quick to action. But when all is said and done, Peter was a remarkable man. In the midst of unbelieving religionists, when the overwhelming tide of religious opinion was rushing the other way, Peter was confident, loyal, willing to stand alone, and bold because he believed and loved his Savior.
When he declared that the man standing before him was “the Christ of God,” he asserted plainly that that man was and is the Incarnate God, the woman’s Seed, Abraham’s Seed, David’s Son and David’s Lord, the Savior, that One of whom the Scriptures speak, the Divine Surety and Covenant Head, by whom alone all God’s elect are and must be saved.