Probably the most important issue that the writers of the books that eventually were collected into the New Testament had to face was the identity of Jesus. Matthew’s gospel describes how King Herod misidentifies him with John the Baptist in chapter 14, while others marvel at his miracles and others deny his importance in the following two chapters.
Chapter 16 begins with a group of emissaries from Jerusalem’s religious elite approaching Jesus and demanding that he perform a “sign” for them. He had just finished doing a series of miracles with literally thousands of eyewitnesses around the northern areas of Galilee and the Decapolis, so their request was clearly redundant. Jesus gives them a tongue-lashing and leaves them. (Matt. 16:1-4)
Later Jesus asks his disciples who they believe him to be, and Simon jumps in with both feet, saying, “You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living…
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