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30. The Confession of Peter. The Prediction of the Lord about His Forthcoming Death and Resurrection.

Then, Jesus went on with His disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way, He asked His disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" They answered, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets who has risen."

"But Who do you say that I am?" asked Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Peter answered for them all, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

The Saviour praised Peter for such faith and said to him, "You are Peter (a rock, according to his faith); and on this rock (on such faith that I am the Son of God) I will build My Church, and the powers of Satan shall not prevail against it. And to you Peter, I will give the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven (such power is given to My Church) that whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven" (this means: for whomever among the believers belonging to the Church, you do not forgive their sins, they shall not be forgiven by God; and for whomever, you forgive sins, they shall be forgiven by God). This is the same authority that the Saviour gave to all His other apostles (cf. John 20:22-23). He spoke firstly to Peter because the Apostle Peter was the first of them all to confess before Him his faith that He is the Christ, Son of God.

From this time, Jesus Christ began to reveal to His disciples that for the salvation of people He would have to suffer much from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and would be killed, and rise again on the third day.

Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to You." By these words of Peter, it was evident that he had the Jewish understanding of the Messiah and still did not understand the teaching about the salvation of people through the suffering of Christ; in him, the earthly feelings still prevailed over the spiritual. The question of Peter was like the temptation of the Devil, who also offered to the Lord earthly power instead of spiritual power, the kingdom of this age instead of the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, Jesus Christ answered, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a hindrance to Me; for you are not on the side of God but of men." Then, He called to the multitude with His disciples and said to them, "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself (let him not think of his own convenience), take up his cross (sorrows, suffering, and labour sent to him by God), and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospelís saves it. For what does it profit a man if he seeking to accumulate earthly blessings personally for himself gains for himself even the whole world and forfeits his soul (making it unworthy of the Kingdom of God, of eternal life)?"

Note: See the Gospels of Matthew 16:13-28, Mark 8:27-38 and 9:1; Luke 9:18-27.

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