The Linked Parishes of Pope John XXIII & Christ The King
2020-21 Faith Formation Program
Session 6 - Wh Do You Say That I AM?
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Who do YOU say that I am?
WOW! Jesus asked his disciples (followers) this very question. You would think that after all that they had witnessed; all the miracles that Jesus had performed, and everything that Jesus had said and done, that this would have been a no brainer…
But….. apparently it wasn’t….
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Read this passage from the Gospel of Matthew,
chapter 16, verses 13-19
It tells us a lot!
READ IT AGAIN….
DID YOU CATCH IT?
WHAT STOOD OUT TO YOU?
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
WHAT DOES ANY OF THIS
HAVE TO DO WITH YOU?
TALK ABOUT A PUBLIC OPINION POLL!
Like today, the customary way of teaching in Jesus’ day was to ask questions. I am sure that you have experienced this at school. So once Jesus and his disciples (followers, students) settled in, he began His lesson by asking this question: “WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM?”
Well, that question wasn’t so hard. The disciples just repeated what they heard, with the list of:
John the Baptist ( remember the Infancy Narrative Lesson 3?)
one of the other prophets
a prophet is NOT a fortune teller- a prophet is someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit and is God’s messenger)
Can you imagine the look that Jesus was giving his disciples when they replied to this? Maybe he was even shaking his head and chuckling to himself.
I am sure that the disciples thought, “ OK, that wasn’t bad.” They probably had a sense of a momentary relief…..
But here comes the BIG ONE!
“WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?”
Oh,oh…. Gulp! I am sure that things got really uncomfortable really fast. I bet there was a lot of hemming and hawing, and deep breaths. I bet that they were looking at each other and wondering who would answer first. Was this a test? Suppose they got it wrong…. Then what?
It was then that Simon Peter stood up and answered: “YOU ARE THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.”
Simon Peter GOT IT!
One can only imagine the look on the other disciples’ faces…
Jesus’ reply was just as remarkable:
“ Blessed are you Simon, Son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,
but my heavenly Father.”
IT TOOK A LOT OF COURAGE FOR SIMON PETER TO PROCLAIM THIS AMONG HIS PEERS…
The Spirit of God came upon Simon Peter and it was through the power of God that Jesus’ divinity had been revealed to him.
This same Spirit filled the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation by Gabriel when it was revealed that she would be the mother of Jesus, and he was the long awaited savior/messiah.
So too it was the same Spirit of God that descended like a dove at Jesus’ Baptism, and a voice came from heaven saying, “YOU are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased. “
It is in all these three instances that the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus’ true nature: He is divine!
Something subtle, but important happened next...
Read the passage again
and see if you catch it
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.
Before, Peter’s proclamation concerning Jesus, his name was actually Simon. (For clarification sake, the Gospels refer to him as Simon Peter.)
After he revealed Jesus’ true nature, and therefore his true purpose, there was no going back. Simon was a changed man- forever! Even his name had to be changed!
Jesus appointed Peter- the Rock- to be the foundation upon which the community of believers would develop and grow.
This was not a little rock either. It was a HUGE ROCK that could not be destroyed. The Church has gone through some very trying times right from the start, and it continues today. Despite all the missteps, scandals, and outside persecutions, the Church will continue because it belongs to Jesus Christ.
It took a lot of courage for Peter to stand up and make the proclamation about Jesus’ divinity in front of his peers.
Telling the truth can be terrifying and standing up for what you believe in can also be terrifying, especially amongst your peers.
In today’s world being a follower of Jesus is not easy. But it has never been easy. Anything that is worth anything is not easy.
So What About You?
Who do YOU say Jesus is?
If Jesus were to stand in front of you, what would be your reply to
“WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?”
Would you rattle off traits:
kind, patient, smart, healer, a great storyteller?
Or would it be more like what you would see on a job application:
teacher, carpenter, preacher?
If your reply is that Jesus is God, then what do you mean by that?
Is He a God that is distant, with whom you have no real connection.
Is he a God that is there to only grant you what you want?
Is Jesus REALLY, REAL TO YOU?
The Most Important Question Of Your life!
The Good News...
...is that the same spirit that enabled Peter to proclaim that Jesus was the Messiah and the SON of GOD is within you too.
You received this gift at your baptism!
It is called FAITH.
And you received two more: Hope and Charity!
You just need to activate this grace by desiring it to happen!
(sound familiar?- last lesson)
IT IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIP AND COMMITMENT!
Do you have a “BFF”? What is it like? Do you want to hang out with this person a lot. Do you enjoy their company? What is it about this person that makes you want to be with them?
……. And how do you keep this relationship going?
It all comes down to LOVE: that mysterious connection that we have with someone. The friend that we are connected with makes us feel complete. We want what is mutually best for each other. We share our hopes, our dreams, our inner most feelings. We talk, but we also listen. We are comfortable around each other. The more the relationship grows the need to always talk decreases because we are aware of one another. And when we are apart, there is an emptiness that is very difficult, if not impossible to fill.
This is what it is like to embrace God- He completes US.
Jesus is waiting but you must desire it. And the very first step is saying, “YES”. Prayer is the connection that cements the relationship….. It makes the connection, and enables the relationship to grow so that you can without hesitation declare like Peter,” You Jesus are my Messiah, the Son of the Living God, who makes me complete.”
Check your Streaming
Jesus Christ Superstar
Live in concert version
Jesus of Nazareth*
The Passion of the Christ*
* Parents Note: very graphic portrayals of Christ's suffering