What does Matthew 16:16 mean?
ESV: Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
NIV: Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
NASB: Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'
CSB: Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
NLT: Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.'
KJV: And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
NKJV: Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Verse Commentary:
Jesus asked the disciples who the people say He is (Matthew 16:13). They understood the crowds of followers to believe Jesus to be a powerful prophet, maybe even one returned from the dead, or John the Baptist. To contrast that view, Jesus asked the disciples who they say He is (Matthew 16:15).

Peter answers on behalf of the group. Once more, this indicates he has become the informal leader of the Twelve (Matthew 10:1–4). Peter's answer is simple, straightforward, and emphasizes the center of Jesus' identity: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Despite often acting like a man "of little faith," according to Jesus (Matthew 14:31; 16:8), Peter has perceived and believed an essential truth about Jesus. The word Christ means "Messiah" or "Anointed One." Peter doesn't stop with recognizing that Jesus is the fulfilment of God's promises for a Savior, he also declares that Jesus is the Son of God, acknowledging that Jesus is, in fact, divine.

Peter and the other disciples still lack complete understanding of why Jesus has come to earth. Peter will shortly prove this and earn a devastating rebuke from Christ (Matthew 16:21–23). Still, this group of close followers is relatively spot-on in their knowledge of who Jesus is. Jesus will make it clear that God the Father has given them this faith.
Verse Context:
Matthew 16:13–20 describes a conversation between Jesus and the disciples about His identity. It takes place about 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee in the district of Caesarea Philippi. Jesus asks who the people say He is and then asks who the disciples say He is. Peter says Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus says this declaration of faith will be the rock on which He will build His church.
Chapter Summary:
A group of Pharisees and Sadducees demand a miracle from Jesus, though He has already performed many. Jesus refuses and warns the disciples to beware of the teachings of these religious leaders. Jesus asks the disciples who the people say He is, as well as their own opinion. Peter says Jesus is the Christ, and is commended for that statement. Jesus begins to reveal that He must suffer and be killed before being raised on the third day. Peter's attempt to scold Jesus results in a devastating rebuke. Jesus then says all who would follow Him must take up crosses of self-denial.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 16 finds Jesus returned from the Gentile regions, only to be immediately confronted by another group of Jewish religious leaders. Yet again, these men prove they are insincere: no amount of evidence will ever be enough for them. After a dramatic discussion about Jesus' role as Messiah, Jesus indicates that those who would come after Him must take up their crosses and follow Him. His references to some seeing the Son of Man coming in His kingdom will be fulfilled at the beginning of chapter 17, in an event known as the transfiguration.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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