In the Gospels, when Jesus and disciples was approached the area near the city, but without entering the city itself.
Jesus asked his closest disciples who they thought he was. Peter confess: “You are the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16).
When, at Caesarea Philippi, Jesus evoked from the Twelve their great confession, this is given by two of the synoptists in the simple form,
“Thou art the Christ” (Mk 8:29; Lk 9:20); but Matthew adds, “the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16).
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
(Matthew 16:13–19 KJV)
Caesarea Philippi: There were two cities in Judea called Caesarea. One was situated on the borders of the Mediterranean and the other was the one mentioned here. It was also called Paneas, was greatly enlarged and ornamented by Philip the tetrarch, son of Herod, and called Caesarea in honour of the Roman emperor, Tiberius Caesar. To distinguish it from the other Caesarea, the name of Philip was added to it, and called Caesarea Philippi, or Caesarea of Philip. It was situated in the boundaries of the tribe of Naphtali, near Mount Lebanon, and was in the most northern part of Judea. It now contains about two hundred houses, and is inhabited chiefly by Turks.
When Jesus came. The original is, when Jesus was coming. Mark says Mark 8:27 that this conversation took place when they were in the way, and this idea should have been retained in translating Matthew.
While in the way, Jesus took occasion to call their attention to the truth that he was the Messiah. This truth it was of much consequence that they should fully believe and understand; and it was important, therefore, that he should often learn their views, and establish them if right, and correct them if wrong. He began, therefore, by inquiring what was the common report respecting him.
Whom do men say, etc. This passage has been variously rendered. Some have translated it. “Whom do men say that I am? The Son of Man? Others. “Whom do men say that I am—I, who am the Son of man, i.e., the Messiah?” The meaning of all is nearly the same. He wished to obtain the sentiments of the people respecting himself.
Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament (Accordance electronic ed. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2006), n.p.
Caesarea Philippi today is a part of Banias Natural Reserve that is administrated by the Israel Authority of National Parks and Natural Reserves. It is located in the border of Israel to Lebanon and close to Syria border in the East.
The natural reserve includes all the Banias river springs and a path to walk around the living vegetation in this beautiful region under the Mount Hermon.