Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" They said in reply, "John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ´One of the ancient prophets has arisen.´" Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter said in reply, "The Messiah of God." He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone. He said, "The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised." (Luke 9:18-22)
Introductory Prayer:You are my God, my creator. All that I am and have comes from you. You have not only created me but wish to have constant and close friendship with me. Thank you for being with me during this time of prayer. Put the fire of your love in my heart. Let it burn away my unworthiness so I can bring the fire of your love to the world around me.
Petition:Christ Jesus, let me witness to my belief in you, the Messiah, with my life.
1. And You?
Jesus asks his disciples: "Who do they say that I am?" They respond that some people say he is John the Baptist raised from the dead. For others he is the return of Elijah or one of the other great prophets from of old. The people have great esteem for Jesus of Nazareth, the wonder-worker, the one with a message unlike any they have ever heard. They certainly have a high opinion of him. Many of them believe he has been “sent by God" but they still do not recognize him as the Messiah, the long-awaited one. Jesus responds to these various answers with another question. He forces them to take a personal position. He is no longer asking for statistics or impressions. Who am I to you? He asks us, too – he who calls us by name and knows the secrets of our heart.
Who should I be if I belong to Christ? Christ puts this question to each of us. What does it mean to be a Christian? He is not John the Baptist or one of the prophets; he is something more. The apostles leave everything to follow him. He has not just added a bit of blessing to their lives. He is their savior, for they cannot save themselves. He is the redeemer of all who were lost in sin. He loved them even when they were lost. So if I too define myself as a Christian, what does it mean to me that God gives me his only Son?
“Messiah” in Hebrew means “to be anointed” -- anointed and therefore consecrated to fulfill a mission of God. In the Old Testament it was the king, the priest and the prophet who were anointed to do God’s work. Jesus is all three: the perfect priest, prophet and king sent to redeem the lost people. The disciples had their ideas of what the Messiah had to be. They expected the Messiah to restore King David’s dynasty; they likely expected to take positions of political power. But Jesus the Messiah points out his path, the way to accomplish perfectly all the Father asks: the way of the cross. Suffering and rejection is the path he has come to walk. Being a Christian, therefore, means accepting the logic of the cross in my life; it means following Jesus as he carries the cross.
Dialogue with Christ: You, Christ, are the answer to my every desire. You are the heart from whose fullness I constantly draw. You are the fulfillment of all of God’s promises, the source of life and holiness. I am yours and you are mine. You gave yourself to be crushed for my sins. Open my heart to believe in your love for me; make my life a testimony to your love as yours is a testimony to the Father’s love for us.
Resolution: I will speak well of someone today when I am tempted to be negative –– or when I hear someone else speak negatively –– about him or her, remembering that Christ shed his blood for every person, even this one.