Scripture: Mark 8:22-33
Key verse: (29) “But who do you say that I am?”
Reflection: There is a book I read over 20 years ago entitled: Who Is This Jesus? by Michael Green. One statement Professor Green makes in his book is that, “Modern people in the West are embarrassed by Jesus.” I wonder if it’s not so much embarrassment, but ignorance. Many people aren’t sure what to say when asked to describe him, much less describe what they believe about him. Early in my adult life, I struggled to articulate what I believed. Having grown up in the church it was sort of just “understood”, but not really talked about except from the pulpit or in a children’s Sunday school class. When I began to study the Bible and live out the forgiveness, hope, justice and love that Jesus offered, my ability to articulate faith increased.
In today’s passage, Jesus healed a blind man on the way to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Walking along, Jesus asked his disciples “who do people say that I am?”. The disciples told Jesus the answers they had heard. Jesus doesn’t comment on these responses, rather he asked: who do you say that I am? Without hesitation they responded – the Messiah. This long hoped for Messiah was the one who would bring good news to the oppressed, bind up the brokenhearted and proclaim liberty and release to captives and prisoners. This Messiah would deliver them. The disciples had seen with their own eyes the power of God in their midst through miracles and healing. People’s lives were changed by the presence and touch of Jesus. Have you ever seen the work of Jesus in someone else’s life or your own life, calling you to new ways of being and serving in the world? If someone were to ask you – who is Jesus? what would you say?What do you believe about him? If you don’t know or you don’t know where to start – don’t worry! There are many resources for anyone who is curious and wants to know more. I suggest beginning with the Gospel of Mark. It is a short, straightforward account of Jesus’ ministry. Pairing study with devotion and service will carry you into the places where God is active in the world. It is in those places that you will see Jesus at work.
We live in challenging times. This past week there have been three mass shooting where children, men and women have been murdered in Gilroy, CA, El Paso, TX, and Dayton, OH. People are looking for signs of hope in the midst of devastating tragedy. There are no words to describe what we see unfolding. What do we believe about Jesus in times like these? Our faith isn’t an escape from the realities of life. We believe, in the good times and the bad that we can share the hope that is within us with others through prayer, compassion, support and advocacy. Jesus asked the disciples and he asks us: Who do you say that I am?
Prayer: Gracious God, we give thanks for the gift of faith and the invitation to follow Jesus out into the world. May your Holy Spirit move among us in such a way that our relationship with Jesus continues to grow. Help us to share what we have seen and heard with others, so that others might know you. Guide us to be your disciples in the world serving others in the name of Jesus. We pray all these things in His name. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].