Who Is Jesus Christ?

Luke 9:18-22
Hag 1:15-29 / Psa 43

But what about you? … Who do you say I am?
(Luke 9:20)

My faith can never be denied:
No one in my life is more prized;
Who for my sake was crucified?
My loving Savior, Jesus Christ.

Once when Jesus was praying in private and His disciples were with Him, He asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Luke 9:18-22)

Reflection

We read in yesterday’s Gospel account how perplexed Herod the tetrarch was about Jesus, “Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” (Lk.9:9). Because of the many wonders that Jesus was performing, people were giving differing opinions about Him: some said, “John has been raised from the dead,” others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets had arisen (Lk.9:7-8). Apparently, this bit of news had reached our Lord, so He also asked the apostles the same question: “Who do the crowds say I am?” Then He followed it up with a more personal question: “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter rose to the occasion and answered, “God’s Messiah.”

Simon Peter was chosen to be the leader of the apostles because he was the boldest of all in proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah and Savior. He became even bolder and braver after he denied the Lord three times, and Jesus admonished him three times by the shore of Lake Galilee (Jn. 21:15-18). After the Holy Spirit had descended upon them on Pentecost, Peter spoke up fearlessly before a crowd of Jews, and spoke about Jesus whom they had crucified, and even quoted the prophet Joel and King David as his testimonies of Jesus, the Messiah (Acts 2:14-40). His witnessing was so powerful that about three thousand were converted and baptized that day (Acts 2:41).

St. Peter and the other apostles finally came to recognize who Jesus was, but only after the Holy Spirit revealed everything about Him to them. They understood everything that Jesus had been teaching them, and this revelation so strengthened their faith that they were all willing to suffer and die in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus throughout the world.

We who are called to give witness about Jesus in our life cannot aspire to be effective in this personal mission unless we have come to understand why the Son of God had to become a man like us except for sin, and embraced His passion and death on the cross for our sake. “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Only by accepting the cross as Christ did, and following his example — by crucifying all our worldly desires — can we truly say that we know who Jesus Christ is. And once the Holy Spirit gives us this gift of knowledge, then we can stand up at the podium, and like St. Peter, share how Jesus Christ has touched our life, and transformed us into a new creation.

Lord, grant Your servant the grace to understand and apply all the lessons and values that our Savior Jesus Christ has been teaching us in the Gospel. May His words inspire us to break out of our comfort zones, and to bring his message of love and salvation to the marketplace, where His example of true Christian living is most needed. Amen.

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