Page:A Brief Bible History (Boyd and Machen, 1922).djvu/83

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Matthew 15:21-39, and Parallels

At this time our Lord withdrew into Phœnicia, northwest of Palestine. In Phœnicia he healed the daughter of a Syrophœnician woman. It was a foretaste of the rich streams of mercy which after Pentecost were to flow out into the whole world.

After a brief stay in Phœnicia, Jesus returned to Galilee, where he engaged again in controversy with the Pharisees and again, by his divine power, fed a great multitude. This second time four thousand men were fed. There were also miracles of healing, and in general the essential characteristics of the Galilæan ministry were continued.

Matthew 16:13-20, and Parallels

But before long Jesus departed again from Galilee, and finally went with his disciples to the regions of Cæsarea Philippi, northeast of Galilee. Near Cæsarea Philippi occurred the great confession of Peter, which is one of the most important incidents of the Gospel record. Matt. 16:13–20, and parallels.

"Who," Jesus asked of his disciples, "do men say that I am? And they told him, saying, Elijah; but others, One of the prophets. And he asked them, But who say ye that I am? Peter answereth and saith unto him. Thou art the Christ." Mark 8:27–29.

In this confession Peter recognized that Jesus was the "Messiah," the "Anointed One," or according to the Greek translation of the same word, "the Christ." It was by no means the first recognition of the fact. The Messiahship of Jesus had been revealed to Joseph and Mary and Zacharias and Elisabeth even before Jesus was born; it had been revealed to the shepherds and the Wise Men who greeted the infant Saviour; it had been revealed to John the Baptist; it had been revealed to the little group of disciples who left John at the Jordan in order to follow Jesus; it had been proclaimed by Jesus himself in his conversations with Nicodemus and with the Samaritan woman; it had been recognized even by the unclean spirits.

But although Jesus had been proclaimed as Messiah before, the confession of Peter was by no means a matter of course. Although the disciples had already accepted Jesus as the Messiah it required considerable faith and devotion to continue to accept him, for Jesus was not the kind of Messiah whom the Jews had been expecting. They had been expecting a Messiah who, as anointed king of Israel, would