“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?'”“And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'”“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?'”“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.'”
And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.”
But Jesus is not the product of reputation nor the servant of public referendum. Words, names, and titles mean different things to different people.
Jesus was not seeking a dissertation on current trends in christology. He narrowed the question:
“Who do YOU say that I am?”
Jesus tells Peter that he knows because God told him.
He knows because he has deeply experienced some of what it means for Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of a Living (rather than deceased – as with all the former emperors) God.