This week’s Gospel describes Jesus having an awkward conversation with His disciples. He asks them as a group, “Who do people say that I am?” And they give him some answers. Some say Elijah. Others say John the Baptist. Others say he’s a prophet. After they all give him all of these answers, he asks the question another way. “But, who do you say that I am.” It’s sort of like when you’re in class and you give the answer you think the teacher wants to hear, the safe answer, the one you read in all the books, and then the teacher asks it again and says, “now I want to hear what you think.”
Finally Peter tries to answer Jesus’ question. He tells Him, “you’re the Messiah.” Peter answered for himself, and he got it right. But I’ll bet just answering that question was a leap of faith for him. When he had to answer it for himself, it was probably terrifying. And yet, when he finally did speak, Peter was the first one to really understand who Jesus was. If Jesus asked me that question, I’d likely go to my notes,books and other resources from my formation as a deacon to provide an answer. As good as my answer might be,Jesus doesn’t want me to answer based on what I've read in books. He doesn’t even want me to answer based on what my friends say. He wants me to answer for myself, from my own heart.
There’s no right answer here. You’re not going to get graded. You’re not going to gain or lose the title of Christian based on what you say. But it’s still daunting. How would you answer...Who do you say that Jesus is? It’s such a simple question. It is one that we feel like we should be able to answer so easily. And yet, it is so hard.
The good news is Jesus calls for each of us to answer that question in our own way. And in order to answer it, we have to get to know Jesus for ourselves. We must have a personal relationship with Him and we have to trust that our relationship with Jesus is as valid as anyone else’s. There is no right or wrong way to love and understand Jesus.
We want to come to church because we are all friends of Jesus. We are all people who have, or who are trying to have, a relationship with Him. All Christians are people who are journeying down the same road, trying to answer
for ourselves, the question Jesus asks of us. “Who do you say that I am?”
If Jesus were to ask you, “Who do you say that I am?,” answer Him with confidence. Even if the right words don’t come to you immediately, simply open your heart and share your experience and love for Him with Him. That would be your answer and that would be the correct answer!
Blessings, Deacon Steve
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC