Daily Reflection – 8/8/19
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah. From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”( Matthew 16: 13-23)
At Caesarea Philippi, the question becomes acute for the twelve disciples chosen by God to carry out the ministry of the church throughout time. Who do you say I am? If Jesus is just a political provocateur or a wise teacher with healing gifts, then He’d hardly be remarkable or worth given one’s life to serve. No church, no Gospel of such a man would endure, nor would the disciples in their mission.
Who do you say that I am? That question applies to us as well, Christians living in a world vastly changed over two millennia. It’s pretty easy at those times when the burden of living our faith authentically in the world to just shrug off the divinity of Jesus. We can easily become the mighty throngs called to hear Jesus’ teaching, happy to be fed and entertained for a while on a Sunday morning and then act as if that had no bearing on the other 167 hours in the week.
Alternately, we can become the Pharisees and Sadducees. Instead of shrugging off Jesus, we can react with hostility and anger to the gentle nature of God’s call to holiness and salvation.
Who do you say I am? It’s the question that will force us to decide between being disciples, spectators, or antagonists. That’s as true now as it was in Caesarea Philippi .It was a challenge to the apostles then to choose now and make the commitment to faith.
And what happens? Simon Peter issues his statement of faith, one that marks the establishment of the Church in time: “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.” But from that declaration forward, Peter surrenders his own will to Jesus, even if imperfectly, and declares his commitment to faith in His teaching rather than Peter’s conception of salvation.
Who do you say that I am? In the end, that question isn’t about the identity of Jesus, but the identity of each and every one of us. When we answer that, we answer for our own identities.
Will we be disciples? Spectators? Antagonists? Will you stand up and defend the word of God? Are you willing to be uncomfortable and perhaps ostracized because you decry those people and events in life that go against the teachings of Jesus Christ? Who do you say Jesus is — and who do you therefore say you are?
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, I profess and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. You are my Lord and my Savior. Make my faith strong like Peter’s and give me boldness to speak of you to others that they may come to know you personally as Lord and Savior and grow in the knowledge of your love”.
Who do you say that I am?” Don’t just answer his question. Go live the answer. Discover the “rockness” that Jesus knows you to be. Live with hope in the midst of despair. Love your neighbor as yourself. Though the gates of death open to you know that they cannot prevail. Care for the poor, feed the hungry, and defend the oppressed. Offer forgiveness despite your anger. Pray when you are too busy to pray. Love your enemies despite your fear. Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him Do these. Be the rock. Be the rock on which Jesus’ church stands before the world.