The Confession of St. Peter

January 18

The Lord be with you

In our Church Year, today is set aside as “the Confession of St. Peter.” This is classed as a “festival.” The confession of Peter remembered this day is found in Matthew 18:13-20, Mark 8:27-29, and Luke 9:18-20. This is where Peter confesses Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” In each of the Gospels that record this event, it is a turning point in the story. From this point on Jesus is heading towards Jerusalem and Holy Week.

The confession of St. Peter did not arise in the imagination of Peter’s heart but was revealed to him by the Father. The reason this confession is important is seen in Jesus’ response: “You are Peter [Greek Petros], and on this rock [Greek petra] I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18). As the people of God in the Old Testament began with the person of Abraham, the rock from which God’s people were hewn (Isaiah 51:1-2), so the people of God in the New Testament would begin with the person of Peter, whose confession is the rock on which Christ would build His church. But Peter was not alone (the “keys” given to him in Matthew 16:19 were given to all the disciples in Matthew 18:18 and John 20:21-23). As St. Paul tells us, Peter and the other apostles take their place with the prophets as the foundation of the Church, with Christ Himself as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). The confession of Peter, therefore, is the witness of the entire apostolic band and is foundational in the building of Christ’s Church. Thus the Church gives thanks to God for St. Peter and the other apostles who have instructed Christ’s Holy Church in His divine and saving truth.

(Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House, slightly adapted)

Prayer: Almighty God, who inspired Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep your Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, so that in unity and peace we may proclaim one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Other appropriate prayers include

• For the unity of the church
• For clarity and boldness in the church’s preaching
• For reconciliation between churches

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert