Peter: Peaks and Valleys (Matthew 16.13-23)

I hope that you find these questions useful in your personal devotional time and/or during your community Bible study times, such as in Sunday School or in small groups.  If you have any questions, thoughts, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  My email address is  Thanks!

  1. In verse 13 we read that Jesus and his disciples were in Caesarea Philippi, which was a city that had a large Gentile population. What, if anything, does this tell us about Jesus and his priorities? What can we learn about taking the gospel of Jesus outside of our comfort zones?
  2. Jesus asks the question in verse 13, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?,” and the answers given tell us quite a bit about who people back then expected the Messiah to be. Well, who do people say Jesus is today? What do people’s answers to that question reveal about their understanding of Jesus?
  3. In verse 15 Jesus makes the question more personal: “Who do you say I am?” Is this question still pertinent to us today? How would you answer it? How would the people you are close to where you work, live, and play answer it?
  4. Jesus commends Peter for his answer (verses 17-20) but Peter later reveals that he doesn’t really understand the kind of Messiah Jesus is (verse 21-22). Do we have similar problems to Peter? Do we experience peaks in our faith with Jesus followed immediately by valleys?
  5. In verse 18 Jesus tells Peter that he’s a rock on which he’ll build the church but in verse 23 he tells him that he’s become a stumbling block to his mission. In what ways have we as individuals and as a community gotten in the way of Jesus’ mission in Alhambra and beyond? What can we do to be more in line with Jesus and his mission instead, taking our proper place behind Jesus, following him?

~Pastor Matt Barnes