The gospel for last Sunday (Matt. 16:13-20)
offered new understanding of the identity of Jesus. The story
occurs outside a temple built to honor Caesar Augustus (the
first of the Caesars of the Roman Empire).
The earliest hearers, or readers, of this story would have known
of a plaque on the gate that says “Divi filius,” which
translates “son of the divine.” Caesars thought themselves
divinely installed as leaders of the empire.