January 18, 2009 - The Confession of St. Peter

Today's Reading: Mark 8:27-35

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 40:1-4; 43:1-12; Romans 8:18-39

[Jesus] said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ." (Mark 8:29)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Who do you say that Jesus is? Everybody's got an opinion about Jesus. He was a Jewish prophet. He was a great teacher, like Confucius or Buddha. He was the illegitimate child of a Jewish peasant girl. He is a terrible judge who will smite you if you don't live a good life. He's just a made up mythological character from the first century. He's really the head alien from another planet.

St. Peter's confession of who Jesus is clearly banishes all these ridiculous ideas and false confessions of who Jesus is. His confession gets straight to the heart of the matter: “You are the Christ.” The title “Christ” means, “anointed one.” Anointed by the Father to be the Savior. The One Man who, because He is true God and true man, not only suffers and dies, but does so to take away the sins of the world!

We learn from Peter's confession what He thought the Christ should be about. Jesus predicts His suffering and death in Jerusalem and Peter says, “No way! Not gonna happen!” And the apostle who, just wonderfully pronounced this confession, is now rebuked by Jesus as being Satan!

Jesus being the Christ means one thing: He came to deliver us from our sins by suffering as a sacrifice on the Cross in our place. After it was all done, the Holy Spirit made Peter one of the boldest Apostles. He went into the world, boldly preaching Christ crucified until the day he died for that confession.

In the holy means of grace—Baptism, absolution, and the Supper— Christ has anointed you, too. The Savior sets you apart as one who has been saved, whose sins are forgiven, who now has eternal life. Who is Jesus? He is the Christ! And that means He is your Savior from sin and death. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Praise be to [Christ] Who, Lord Most High, The fullness of the Godhead shares; And yet our human nature bears, Who came as man to bleed and die. And from His Cross there flows our peace Who chose for us the path He trod, That so might sins and sorrows cease And all be reconciled to God. (LSB 538:3)