Mark's Gospel

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The Confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi

(Mark 8:27-30)

Jesus was a very different kind of Messiah from that expected by the Jews. If he had declared himself Messiah at the beginning of the ministry there would have been the risk that people might have made him a rallying point for an insurrection against the Romans.

After their missionary tour, the disciples would be in close touch with public opinion and know the people's estimate of Jesus. He was also anxious to know how far their own understanding had progressed. The event at Caesarea Philippi is a turning point in the Gospel story. The ministry in Galilee was almost over and from now on the Jesus' forthcoming death would cast its shadow over events. When Peter declared, 'You are the Messiah', Jesus accepted that the secret was out. The disciples were warned to keep the knowledge to themselves, for the time was not yet appropriate for the challenging of the Jewish authorities. There also remained the danger of an uprising.

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