Here's this week's Bible study blog entry for i.ucc:
Topic for conversation:
Jesus asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah” or “You are the Christ” (Messiah=Christ – Hebrew-Greek)
And even though he made the mistake of rebuking Jesus and denying even knowing Jesus within a very short time, he at least understood whom he served Jesus was the one!
But Peter was confused -- Messiah (anointed one) is a term loaded with ‘conquering king’ ideas. Peter expected Jesus to be the king who would come and take charge by force. In the scriptures Peter knew, Messiah would be powerful and rule absolutely. Suffering and death would not go with the title Messiah.
It's no wonder Jesus called Peter out (‘Satan’ is another loaded term for us, but in this case it means “Adversary” and doesn’t have the same implications our minds add to it today.) and set the disciples straight about what was coming. Jesus was going to suffer and die and rise again. And further -- Jesus followers were going to have to deny themselves and be authentic followers of Jesus.
When we call Jesus the Messiah or the Christ today, we understand about one who suffered and died and rose again. We understand that Jesus isn’t about military takeovers and force. We understand that Jesus really wants us to authentically and truly follow him and to continue to follow the greatest two commandments of loving God and loving our neighbor?