Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
What was it like for the first followers to make sense of Jesus’ identity and mission? In today’s Gospel, Jesus himself is curious to learn how people – including his own disciples – interpret his teaching and healing ministry.
Lifelong Christians may take for granted that Jesus is fully human and fully divine, the Son of God, the “Christ.” We know Jesus is more than a rabbi or prophet; He is the Incarnation of God Who-Is-Love, who reconciles the relationship between God and humanity.
But what would it be like to encounter Jesus without this theological framework already in place? What would it take to change our beliefs and what we imagine possible, as the disciples did? How do I answer Jesus’ question for myself: “Who do you say that I am?”
Everyone has a god; it is their center of value, what orders their decisions, habits, and relationships. Today, how can I look for ways to keep Jesus at the center of my life?
Keep me safe, O God;
in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD,
you are my Lord,
you are my only good.
I keep the LORD always before me;
with him at my right hand, I shall never be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices;
my body also dwells secure,
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
nor let your devout one see the pit.
You will show me the path to life,
abounding joy in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
—Ps 16: 1-2, 8-11