Matt.16:17 – And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Just giving the right answers doesn’t really mean you know what you are saying. We can even teach a smart parrot to recite the right doctrines. The Lord is looking for more than correct answers to questions, He wants us to know Him and love Him with our hearts. This was the constant problem Jesus encountered in the religious community. How many times did we hear the Lord say that you worship Me with your mouths but your hearts are far from Me? I often think about this today and even tremble in fear; how many current church attenders have an intellectual belief in spiritual things but have no revelation like Peter had in this passage. Peter had traveled with Jesus for a long time and heard Him teach and saw Him perform miracles before the light turned on. In a flash of supernatural light Peter saw it, Jesus is the Son of God. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes this passage.
“His old name is mentioned to bring out the distinction between what he was by nature and what grace had made him. Simon Bar-Jona, the fluttering son of a dove, has now become Peter, a rock. He was a happy man to be taught of God on the central truth of revelation. He had not arrived at his belief by mere reason: flesh and blood had not worked out the problem; there had been a revelation to him from the Father who is in heaven. To know the Lord in mere doctrinal statement, no such divine teaching is required; but Peter’s full assurance of his Lord’s nature and mission was no theory in the head: the truth had been written on his heart by the heavenly Spirit.“
So I have to ask the question, have you seen Christ by revelation or do you just have an intellectual belief in Him? Sometimes people go through the evangelical formula and even pray the prayer and nothing really happens. How do I know ? That was my story. I had prayed the pray often but never had a heart change until the day in August of 1973 that the light turned on. Only then could I say with Peter from my heart, “Jesus, you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”