Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Messiah of God.” He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone. He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”(Luke 9:18-22)
Today’s scripture contains a profound question for you and me.
Who do you say that I am?
Even adult Christians who believed as little children at some point must face the question directly, “Who is Jesus for me?” Otherwise, he or she runs the risk of reducing Jesus to a theory, a religion, or a tradition—ultimately void of meaning.
However, if someone is willing to open up to Jesus with sincere and persistent prayer and study, he or she, like Peter, will recognize in Jesus “the Messiah of God.” Essential to such a search is the realization that it is not principally finding the truth as much as it is encountering a person. Mature faith is born from meeting Jesus Christ.
Once we recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the very Son of God, neutrality is no longer an option. We must either bend the knee or reject him. To bend the knee means to adore and to obey him. Our worship of Jesus brings us grace and gradually forms our hearts and minds to be more like his (Galatians 4:19).
His words and his example become the criteria by which we act. “What would Jesus do?” should not be a cliché. It is also in living with Jesus and like Jesus that others will discover him through us. St. Paul writes, “yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Jesus announced the type of Messiah he would be in the fullness of time: a Messiah who would suffer and die in order to bring us salvation, a Messiah who would summon us to be co-redeemers with him precisely through entering into his suffering, his death, and his resurrection.
This is the Messiah we are called in every time and in eternity to confess.
In his Passion, we have a shift from death to life, from darkness to light, from sin to salvation, but one that is not cyclical but ultimately linear. There is a time to die but also a time to rise and the advantage that comes from all this toil is eternal reward.
This happens, as the Psalmist said, when we build our life on God as our rock, mercy, fortress, stronghold, deliverer and trustworthy shield. Even though man’s life is like a breadth and his days on earth like a passing shadow, the Lord notices him and takes thought of him, and comes to make his days not a passing shadow but an eternal life.
There is indeed “an appointed time for everything,” but in birth and death, planting and uprooting, weeping and laughing, rending and sowing, silence and speech, God’s grace is given to unite those moments to God so that they may all enhance the way we build our life on God as a stable, secure Rock and thereby confess him to be the long-awaited Messiah and Savior, the “same yesterday, today and forever.”
When we do that and allow that belief to guide all of our thoughts and actions then we can become the co-redeemer he wants. Co-redeemers. That is the mission to which you and I are called.
Isn’t it time for you and me to accept that, live that and be a light to the world?
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, I believe and I profess that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Take my life, my will, and all that I have, that I may be wholly yours now and forever.”
If we want to share in the victory of the Lord Jesus, then we must also take up our cross and follow where he leads us. What is the “cross” that you and I must take up each day? When my will crosses (does not align) with God’s will, then his will must be done, To know Jesus Christ is to know the power of his victory on the cross where he defeated sin and conquered death through his resurrection. The Holy Spirit gives each of us the gifts and strength we need to live as sons and daughters of God. The Holy Spirit gives us faith to know the Lord Jesus personally as our Redeemer, and the power to live the Gospel faithfully, and the courage to witness to others the joy, truth, and freedom of the Gospel. Who do you say that Jesus is?