Jesus and his disciples traveled north to the city of
Caesarea Philippi. On the way Jesus questioned the disciples. First he asked, "Who
do people say that I am?"
The disciples answered, "Some say you are Elijah, the prophet, come back to earth. Some think you are John the Baptist risen from
the dead. Others believe you are Jeremiah or another prophet who taught long ago."
Next Jesus asked, "But who do you say that I am?"
Boldly Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus rejoiced to hear this. At least his disciples understood who he was. Jesus charged them not to tell this to anyone.
Then Jesus talked about the troubles and sorrows that would come to him at Jerusalem. He would be arrested and cruelly treated.
Because the elders, chief priests, and scribes would reject him he would be killed. After three days he would rise again.
The disciples did not understand what Jesus meant. They believed he would soon be their king, and they would have important places in his kingdom. Why should he talk about dying now?
Simon Peter, who often spoke for all the Twelve, took Jesus aside and said, "These terrible things must never happen to you."
Jesus turned and looked sadly at his disciples. To Peter he said, "You talk like Satan, the tempter. You do not understand the things of God; you understand only the things of men."
How much easier it would have been for Jesus to accept a throne and an earthly kingdom than to suffer and die! But Jesus did not want to do anything just because it was easy. He wanted to do his
Later Jesus gathered the people and his disciples around him and told them what it meant to be his follower. "If anyone wants to
follow me, he must not live his own way but my way. He must not be selfish and try only to take care of himself. If he will let his life
be used entirely for my sake and for the gospel's, he will be saved. What is a man profited if he gains the whole world and loses his
own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? God will reward every man for what he does."
The people marveled at Jesus' teachings.