Father Ricardo's Column
Caesarea Philippi was an interesting background
for Peter’s discovery that a wandering teacher from
Nazareth, who was heading for a cross, was the
Son of God. This location purported to be the
source of the Jordan River, the birthplace of the
Greek god, Pan, and the center of Baal worship.
Crowned by a temple built to the divinity of Caesar,
it had references to all of world history and many
religious traditions, including that of Israel. It was a
place of glittering worldly power.
For Jesus, this was a crucial moment. The
opposition was gathering to strike. He asked His
disciples about the rumors and reports concerning
Him. In this location, did the atmosphere of political
and material success and failure obscure His
disciples’ vision of Him. Were the men among
whom He lived and taught and moved still unaware
that Jesus was not some nationalistic champion
reversing hundreds of years of conquest? Did they
even glimpse the presence of God in Him?
Who do YOU say that I am? (breathless silence).
And then Peter said, You are the Messiah, the
Christ, the Anointed One, the Son of God.
At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus was sure that His
mission had not failed. He had succeeded in
revealing God. Unfortunately, His own disciples
still didn’t grasp that this meant following Jesus and
picking up a cross.