Who do you say that I am?

Sunday’s Scripture –August 23, 2020

Matthew 16:13-20

Reflection

During Jesus’s earthly life, people had all kinds of ideas about his identity. Some said he was John the Baptist. Others said Elijah. And still others thought he was Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

Jesus wasn’t much concerned with who everyone else thought he was. But, he was very concerned with who his disciples thought he was. One day he asked them, and we can read about the interaction in Matthew 16:13-20.

Jesus asked those first twelve the same question he asks every disciple since:

“Who do you say that I am?”

Peter’s answer would become the single, unifying proclamation of the Church throughout all times and in all places:

“You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

Jesus calls Peter blessed because his answer was not (could not be) revealed to him by any other human person. It was (and has to be) divinely revealed to him by God the Father in heaven. When it comes to Jesus’s identity–his Messiah-ness, Sonship, and Divinity– we are dependent upon divine revelation. Perhaps this is why Jesus instructs the disciples not to tell anyone else the answer.

The good news is that it has been revealed to us through the Scriptures and the witness of the Church.

Many of us have grown up in a faith tradition with loving Christian families and church communities. Their faith nourishes ours and even carries us in our early days, as it should.

But, there comes a time when this will no longer do. It’s been said that God does not have grandchildren, only sons and daughters. Eventually, we must make our own proclamation of faith, no longer relying on the faith of our denomination or our parents. At that time, we hear Jesus ask us personally: Who do you say that I am?

No, our faith is not individual, but it is personal.

And we must answer as Peter did, as our denomination states, as our parents have proclaimed for themselves before us:

“You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

And, in so doing, we count ourselves a part of the Church Christ is building, among those whom not even the gates of Hades can prevail against.

 

Questions

  • So, what’s your answer? Who do you say that Jesus is? How would you put it in your own words?
  • Do you remember the day or the series of  important events that led to your own proclamation of faith? Take time to remember it. Tell someone about it.
  • Has God divinely revealed to you Jesus’ nature? If not, ask God to! If so, how did it happen?

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