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John 1:41

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).

Matthew 16

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

But Andrew has told Peter that Jesus is the Christ

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John 1:

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus.

John the Baptizer told Andrew about Jesus. Andrew, in turn, told his brother Peter about Jesus being the Messiah. At this point, there was no strong indication that Peter actually believed that. It was just a piece of head knowledge to him.

Now fast forward to Matthew 16. At this point, Peter had been with Jesus for many months and witnessed many miracles performed by him:

15 “But what about you?” he [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

The emphasis on the Son of the living God showed that Peter really believed that.

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

Indeed, it wasn't just head knowledge for him. He knew it deep in his heart and spirit.

How to reconcile John 1:41 and Matthew 16:17?

In John, it was a piece of head knowledge that could be temporary because it was informed by his flesh and blood brother. In Matthew, it was a deep belief in Peter's heart because it was revealed to him by the Father in heaven.

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this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

Revelation - the lemma here is apocalypto -- always comes from the Father. It does not matter whether a message is emblazoned on the mountainside or announced by a hundred heralds, unless the Father reveals the message it will remain a parable and will not be understood.

Matt 13.11-16 (ESV)

And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given [...] This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.

Many people heard the words "messiah", but they misunderstood that as someone that would be an earthly king, or save the jewish people, etc. That is, they saw everything according to the flesh, as a wordly thing. Even today, most cannot understand Christ, because they cannot understand spiritual things:

2 Cor 3.12-17

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

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John 1:41 occurred just before Matt. 4:18, when Jesus called them again that time to leave fishing to be fishers of men. {from Aland, K. (2009). Synopsis of the Four Gospels. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.}

Matt. 16:17 occurred later. Aland puts is soon after, while Robertson puts it after John 6. {Robertson, A. T. (2009). A Harmony of the Gospels. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.}

Why would Peter's experience with Jesus be unlike that of the Samaritans?

 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42, ESV)

Note also Peter's addition, "the Son of the Living God."

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  • Another superb, crisp and accurate answer. many thanks. +1.
    – Dottard
    Aug 21 at 2:09

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