Christological and Ecclesiological Meaning of Jesus’ Admonition to Peter (Mt 16:23; Mk 8: 33)

  • Paweł Borto The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Faculty of Theology
Keywords: Revelation; Christ; Messiah; Peter; disciple; Cross; Satan; Christology; Ecclesiology


The synoptic Gospel tradition of Matthew and Mark has passed on harsh words which Jesus addressed at Peter (Mt 16: 23 and Mk 8: 33). The First of the Apostles was reprimanded soon after he had professed his faith.

Such a context as well as the overtone of Jesus’ words make them an interesting pericope both for exegesis and theology, allowing a theologian to draw important conclusions for Christology and Ecclesiology. Indeed, this moment of the Gospel more distinctly reveals the Christ mystery as well as the mystery of what it means to be his disciple. Therefore there is “something more” revealed about Christ himself as well as “something more” about the Church as the community of Jesus’ disciples.

In this paper, the author analyzes the meaning of the admonition. In order to do it, he discusses the sense of Jesus’ words in the contexts of both Matthew and Mark, pointing to similarities and differences between their accounts. He also proposes a new translation of the analyzed words, different from the commonly accepted one. Finally, the author presents his most important conclusions and questions arising when reading the aforementioned pericopes, as well as their christological and ecclesiological consequences.


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