Who is Jesus to Me?

Mark 8: 27-33
Gen 9: 1-13 / Psa 102

…you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.
(Mark 8:33)

How we always fail to discern
That our Lord’s plans are more sublime.
Why not trust that His main concern
Is our Life for eternal time?

Jesus and His disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. Along the way He asked them, “Who do people say that I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” Then He said, “How about you? Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Then Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke him. At this Jesus turned around and looking at His disciples, rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” He said. “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Mark 8:27-33)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel gives us an insight into the human nature of St. Peter, which is quite typical among many of us who claim to be followers (or even leaders) of Jesus Christ. We blow hot, we blow cold, and the words we speak can get us into trouble. In one moment, we can be so inspired by the Holy Spirit that we come up with the right answer, but in the next moment, we can be so filled with ourselves that we blurt out the dumbest things like St. Peter’s that earned the sternest rebuke from the Master.

In one momentous incident, in the heights of Caesaria Philippi, the Holy Spirit came upon St. Peter, and he answered Jesus’ question perfectly: “You are the Messiah.” In the version of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus commended him, saying “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my heavenly Father.” (Mt.16:17) And yet, when Jesus started to lay out the Father’s plan for Him in the days ahead, Peter reverted to his human instincts, and refused to accept what seemed to him such a foolhardy course to take. He had the Spirit’s inspiration, but he still lacked the personal faith that Jesus demanded from him.

There are important lessons that we can learn in today’s Gospel. First, our human knowledge is inadequate to discern spiritual truth; only God’s indwelling Spirit can give that wisdom. Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (Jn. 6:63) Second, we must put our full trust in God, no matter how unreasonable His terms may seem to be. We must strive for the faith of Abraham as our model. He obeyed God to kill his only son Isaac as a sacrifice, even if he was already too old to sire another child. Jesus knew the terrible suffering and death that He would have to go through to fulfill His mission, but He trusted the Father that He would rise again in victory over sin. He wants us to trust Him as well when we take up our own cross to follow Him. Finally, who Jesus Christ is in our life will determine the kind of person that we want to become. If we accept Him as our Life here and now, then He will be our ultimate destination. If we make Him the Ideal of what we want to be, then His Divine Entity will occupy our minds and hearts, and will be the core of our being for all time.

Father God, you have given us a clear picture of Your purpose for us, which is to receive Jesus as our Savior. Through Your Holy Spirit, our hearts and minds have been illumined to receive His Truth, which has given our life its purpose. Amen.

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