12th September 2021
THE TRUE IDENTITY OF JESUS
Psalm 116:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
The context of the Gospel passage of today is that Jesus, before turning his direction to Jerusalem, passes Caesarea Philippi where he publicly announces his passion, death and resurrection to his disciples.
In this passage we will see the question about the identity of Jesus that leads also to the true identity of his disciples.
Who do people say that I am? This question is very radical for the followers of Jesus. He started by asking the opinion of the public about him. This question is also addressed to each one of us today. And the response to this fundamental question will express the depth of our personal faith and conviction about Jesus.
People struggled to grasp the identity of Jesus. Some people even see Jesus as Blasphemer (Mk 2:7), possessed by devil (Mk 3:22). But some see him as John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets. These are great peoples in the history of the Israelites. They see him as a miracle worker, role model, messenger of God, someone comes from God. Their response is not wrong but Jesus is much more than these.
After that Jesus turns to his disciples: but who do you say that I am? Jesus asks them this question because his aim is to help them to grasp very well who really he is.
Since the disciples have being stayed with Jesus for quit long, they slowly came to know Him. Peter confessed “You are the Messiah”. He sees Jesus as the Savior sent by God, Son of God, and God incarnate. Peter discovered the true identity of Jesus through prayers and being close to Him.
The same for us, we are able to discover who really Jesus is for us and what his mighty works in our lives are only if we are close to him and spend time praying and meditating his words.
Jesus is the Messiah who will save the whole humanity from the danger of death and evil. He will fulfill it through suffering, rejection, death and resurrection. This is the true identity of Jesus. But all this is beyond human’s understanding. Peter could not understand it and he rebuked Jesus. By doing so, Peter denied the very faith he just professed. Jesus called him
Satan. Satan is the one who works against God’s will and plan for Salvation. Satan’s role and mission is to destroy God’s kingdom and to prevent people from any access to salvation. Peter is called Satan because he rebuked Jesus in his path of fulfilling God’s plan for the salvation of humankind.
The same for us, how many a times we fail to live the very faith we profess. We rebuke Jesus when we fail to carry out our daily cross. We reject Jesus when we get lost in taking care for ourselves and forget about other people. We rebuke Jesus when we look for other saviors apart from Him: glory, earthly pleasure, material richness, self-glorification, self-centered life....
We have to be the doers of the words, living out our faith through action not just hearers of the words, because, faith without work is dead (Jm2:17). This is the true path to holiness and eventually to salvation.