To the Romans “Philippi,” to the Greeks “Paneas”
At the southwest base of Mount Hermon lies the ruins of a Roman city near the Grotto of Pan, an ancient place of worship. Temples stood near the grotto, a cave that descended deeper than man could know. It was called “The Gates of Hell.” Sacrifices to Pan were thrown down into this darkness. Some would say that it was near these rocks where Jesus asked the questions, “Who do men say that I am?” and “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13-15)
We arrived as the gates closed. As Khaled talked to the park attendant trying to get us in, I walked over to a stream. As you watch or listen perhaps you can imagine the impact of Jesus’ words if, he was speaking near the site of Pan.
When they came into the region of Caesarea Philippi….
The question was asked and, “Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’
Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, it was my Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, (petros, a stone or boulder) and on this rock (petra, a large mass of rocks) I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:16-18)
Caesarea Philippi lies in ruins.
This false god’s days are over, its demon left to deceive in other ways. Multitudes have since heard the Almighty Father reveal to their heart that, ” Jesus, His Son, is the Messiah.” We are called living stones (1 Peter 2:25) with faith that cannot be shaken. “Petra,” a large mass of rocks.”