The first mention to the title of Messiah (or Christ) in the Gospel of John is from Andrew testifying to Peter right after he met Jesus.

John 1:41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).

But on Matthew it's recognized by Peter, and Jesus even prohibits the dissemination of his revelation.

Matthew 16:15-16 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”. 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, but My Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 16:20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

What is the explanation for this apparent discrepancy?

  • There is no contradiction here, the events of John 1 happened long before the events of Matthew 16, beyond that I am not sure what your question is, please can you clarify it? Jul 1, 2015 at 6:41
  • @JonathanChell The question is on the title: According to the Gospel of John Jesus was always known as the Messiah? The contradiction is that in Jhon it's always known, while on Matthew is known later.
    – Juan
    Jul 1, 2015 at 10:49
  • Where in Matthew's gospel are we told that Peter didn't know Jesus was the Messiah prior to this declaration - that is what you need to establish this as a contradiction, as to your question Jesus is known by many names in John but John 1:41 is the only place in the whole of scripture where 'Messiah' is applied directly to him - so clearly the answer is no! Jul 1, 2015 at 16:15
  • @JonathanChell it is evident considering that he asks not to spread this revelation. By the way in the same conversation on Mathew 16:13-14 when Jesus asks "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” the apostles just named prophets.
    – Juan
    Jul 1, 2015 at 16:37
  • 1
    Question is addressed thoroughly: Larry W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity, Eerdmans 2003, pp 358f. Jul 1, 2015 at 18:49

2 Answers 2


Let's read back a bit in Matthew 16 starting at verse 13(ESV):

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

I believe there is an assumption happening in the question that Peter's answer in Matthew 16 is somehow a new revelation. It its not necessarily so.

First of all, Jesus initiates the discussion. So we must allow for him to have a reason to do so.

Second, Peter answers immediately and there is no mention in the narrative of any contemplation. Peter is told by Jesus he is blessed for knowing and such knowledge was given to him by the Father. It does not say whether he was just given that knowledge Att that moment or not.

Thirdly, it would seem reasonable that many of them had at least suspicions and hopes that he was the Christ, though their picture of what that meant was not necessarily correct (it wasn't at all). So perhaps all that was new in Matthew 16 was outward confirmation from Jesus and perhaps internal confidence in that knowledge from the Father. Coming full circle, this could in fact have been Jesus' purpose in raising the question.


The contradiction is that in John it's always known...

By whom ? By Andrew and his brother, Peter (and by Andrew's companion, John, included in the we) ?

...while in Matthew it is known later.

Again, by whom ? By the masses ?

He asks not to spread this revelation.

To whom ? To the masses ?

In Mathew 16:13-14, when Jesus asks “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”, the apostles just named prophets.

...meaning that the masses, unlike some of His closest companions, were unaware of Who exactly He was...

What is the explanation for this apparent discrepancy ?

What apparent discrepancy ?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.