Let’s take the Gospel a line at a time. Each of the hundreds of kingdoms in the Roman Empire had a city named after Caesar, this one was in the Golan Heights in the kingdom of Herod the Great’s son Philip, so it is Caesaria Philippi.
In our day and time if a new celebrity appeares on he scene none of us makes the guess that he was the rebirth of some great man from the past. Isn’t it strange that with Jesus people were saying he was Elijah, of Jeremiah?
Now, today’s Gospel reading is from Matthew, but like a full third of Matthew’s Gospel, it was copied from Mark’s Gospel. Mark wrote his Gospel to show how a man executed as a criminal could be the Messiah. The first half of his Gospel gave all the reasons that brought the Apostles around to being certain Jesus was the Messiah. Matthew copies Mark in recalling how Peter asserted that Jesus was the unique Savior. Then, with Mark, Matthew switched to telling us that it was by Our Lord’s willing acceptance of suffering and death that he saved us.
Matthew then went beyond Mark in recalling how Jesus made Peter the rock on which he would build his Church. Matthew alone gives us the story of Peter impetuously boasting he would save Jesus from attack. It is a story that endears Peter to us. Hopefully, it is a story that will have us trying to see things as God does, not as weak humans do.