Gospel Reading: Lk 9:18-22
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 Christ 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.”
WHO DO THE CROWDS SAY THAT I AM?
The fundamental significance in this text is its recognition about who Christ is. There is no greater tragedy or error of judgment in life than to underestimate him. To miss the one who possesses the gift of life is to miss life itself. To understand him as the Christ without understanding who the Messiah really is leaves us short in understanding Jesus. That is why in Lk 20:41-44, Jesus asks why David called the Messiah “Lord” rather than the “Son.” There is a hierarchy in God’s plan, and Jesus stands at the top of it, ministering for God on our behalf from the right hand of the Father. The disciples do not understand that about Jesus at this time though the subsequent events will make it clear. Many contemporary portraits of Jesus fall short of understanding who Jesus is. Some attempt to accept him as a religious teacher, a member of the religious Hall of Fame, but do not see him as unique.
This approach to Jesus is popular in our culture, since it is a tolerant stance that does not foist his uniqueness on anyone. Unfortunately, it is also a view that denies one of the most fundamental claims of the great teacher, namely, that he uniquely represents the fulfillment of all God’s promises and uniquely shows the way to God.
Either Jesus was unique in fulfilling the promise of God or his claims were a distortion of truth. What do you say of him?
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