Ver. 13,14. This, and the following part of this discourse, is related both by Mark and Luke. Mark hath it, Mar_8:27, And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. Luke saith, Luk_9:18,19, And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. Matthew and Mark name the place whither our Saviour was going, viz. Caesarea Philippi: it is so called partly to distinguish it from another Caesarea, and partly because it was built to the honour of Tiberius Caesar, by Philip the tetrarch. It was a city at the bottom of Lebanon, and upon the river of Jordan. Mark saith this discourse was in the way. Luke saith, as he was alone praying; but as must there signify after, for we cannot think that our Saviour would interrupt himself in prayer by this discourse, nor could he be alone praying if his disciples were with him, both which Luke saith; so that en tw einai autan proseucomenon katamonav were certainly translated better, after he had been praying alone, his disciples were with him: so that this discourse might be (as Mark saith) in the way, before they came to Caesarea Philippi, whither he was going.
He asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men (or the people, as Luke hath it)
say that I am? Not that our Saviour, who knew the hearts of all, did not know, but to draw out Peter’s following confession.
And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: we heard before that Herod said so.
Some, Elias: this respected the prophecy, Mal_4:5. The Jews had a tradition, that before the coming of the Messias Elias should come, Joh_1:21.
Others, Jeremias, ( this is only in Matthew),
or one of the prophets. The Jews seeing Christ do such wonderful works, could not resolve themselves who he was. Herod and his court party said that he was John the Baptist risen from the dead. They had, it seems, an opinion of some extraordinary virtues, or powers, in such as were risen from the dead. Many interpreters agree that the Jews had an opinion, that good men’s souls, when they died, went into other bodies; this made them guess that our Saviour was one of the old prophets.