Author: Ian Harris
I’ve found that no matter where I am in life, the questions posed by Jesus in the Gospels always seem to hit home. This week, I challenge you to pray with the same question Jesus asked Peter. Who do you say that I am? I feel that knowing our own answer to this is often overlooked but is absolutely essential in our formation.
It may seem very easy to answer at first, because there are many directions to take it. He is the Son of God, He’s the savior of humanity, the second person in the trinity, etc. All of these answers are true, but I think we’ll miss an important part if we limit this question to strict memorized facts, we need to know it to be true in our own hearts. Okay, cool cliché, but how?
I would start as basic as you can get, and that is accepting that Jesus is a very real person. Yes, this may also seem elementary, but I challenge you to stop and pray about if you truly believe this in your heart. I was claiming to say I believed this for years, but a few months ago it seemed to hit me over the head that what I knew in my head did not match what I felt in my heart. I realized that I had been praying and talking to Jesus, but always in this very vague and abstract type of way. I failed to recognize him as a person, and for that reason I was failing to love him as a person wants to be loved. By seeing him as an idea I would love him the same way one can love character in a book or movie. These characters may deeply motivate us, they may be very relatable, and they may teach us things about ourselves. However, they are not real people and cannot respond to our love with love of our own. But Jesus isn’t just a character, He is a real person. And for that reason, He is not just a loving person, but a person that is actively loving you at this very moment. I would highly recommend spending some time with this in prayer, and don’t be afraid if you find it difficult, He’ll help if you ask!
I’d like to point out one last thing to keep in mind while you ask yourself who you say that Jesus is. Right after Peter states that Jesus is the “Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus responds with, “…For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.” What Jesus is reminding us and Peter, is that we don’t figure stuff out by our own will and knowledge. Christianity is not the Da Vinci Code where we crack secrets to have deeper revelations about our Lord. It is a relationship with a real person who is a loving Father to all of us. When we seem to have breakthroughs and insights it is not because we are thinking our way to Heaven, but because Our Father is drawing us closer to Himself. By being drawn closer to His perfect love we are able to see ourselves, others, and His mysteries just a little bit better than before.
Note: This is an incredibly rich passage and I don’t think my writing could do justice to all the cool things that flow from it. Here’s a video that points out some more really cool insights that weren’t covered here. Start around minute 8 and watch for a bit if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing!
St. Peter, Pray for us!