"Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, "Who do men say that I am?" And they answered, "John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ." (Mark 8:27-29).
The city of Caesarea Philippi was on the southwestern slope of Mount Hermon and the northernmost extent of Jesus' ministry. It is also an area scattered with the temples of ancient Syrian Baal worship. A cave near Caesarea Philippi is said to be the birthplace of the Greek god Pan, the god of nature, fields, forests, mountains, flocks and shepherds. The Jordan river has four main sources, and the cave at Caesarea Philippi is its' easternmost source -- this alone would make the area full of emotion for the Jews. In Caesarea Philippi there was a great temple of white marble built to the godhead of Caesar—it had been built by Herod the Great.
With Caesarea Philippi as a backdrop we have a dramatic picture of Jesus of Nazareth, a penniless Galilean carpenter, surrounded by twelve ordinary men. He was standing in an in an area littered with the temples of the Syrian gods, a place where the Greek gods looked down, a place where the most important river in Judaism sprang to life, a place where the white marble splendor of the home of Caesar-worship dominated the landscape. And here, of all places, He stands and asks men who they believe Him to be. Peter boldly answers that He is "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16).
The great confession at Caesarea Philippi was followed by the great hour on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-9). Apparently Jesus had come to tho Mount Hermon to pray (Luke 9:28-29), when two great figures appear—Moses and Elijah—both of whom had experienced the power of God on a mountain top. The topic of conversation at the Transfiguration was "of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem" (Luke 9:31). The word which is translated decease is very significant—it is exodos, which is exactly the same as the English word exodus—a word which is always used in connection with the departure of the people of God from Egypt.
The Biblical City Of Caesarea Philippi (2nd edition, 2015). A detailed outline describing the city of Caesarea Philippi, its significance in Biblical times and its archaeological ruins. This second edition includes color photographs of the area (PDF file size: 1.9MB).