“You are the Messiah,” Peter bursts without thinking, wondering why Jesus would ask a pretty basic question.
But I think Jesus was trying to take their temperature. He probably heard the gossip about who people thought he was, and he wanted to shut down any misinformation before it got out of hand.
“Who do people say that I am? What are they saying about me? What’s in the papers, what are the bloggers blogging about? Who is tweeting about me and what are they tweeting? What’s happening on Facebook? I’m curious. Because I haven’t been totally direct with people, and I want what’s going on out there.”
It’s interesting that Jesus thinks his disciples have their ears to the ground. After all, they haven’t really left his sight since they began their preaching tour. They may have been milling about in the crowds, eavesdropping on peoples’ conversations, getting a sense of who people think this wandering preacher is, and why they think that.
But people only have their own experience to draw from. Some say that Jesus is “Elijah” because they see Jesus’ ministry of speaking God’s Word. Others say Moses because they see him as a great leader. Some say “one of the prophets” because his preaching has cut through their hearts like a surgeon’s scalpel. But no two people agree as to who they think Jesus is.
There’s no consensus until Jesus asks his followers.
“Okay, that’s who THEY, OUT THERE say that I am. But who do YOU say that I am? What do YOU tell people about me?”
It’s a pretty direct question, isn’t it? Is Jesus testing them? Or is even more curious about his friends’ answers then those on the street.
“You’re the Messiah,” Peter says impulsively. Probably impressed with himself.
Did Peter answer Jesus correctly? Yes. But did he know what the correct answer was? No...(whole thing here)