Scripture: Matthew 16:13-20
Key verse: (15) “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Reflection: Detective Del Spooner, frantically chasing down a murder suspect, finds himself in a rather unfamiliar predicament. The year is 2035, in Chicago and the unfamiliarity of the situation is not the fact that he is pursuing a murder suspect, but rather the suspect in the hunt is a robot named Sonny. The two confront each other in hand-to-hand combat when Spooner gets thrown across the room. Sonny leaps into the air, landing right in front of the shaken Spooner, and asks in an honest and endearing voice, “What am I?”
In our passage for today, we read Jesus asking a similar question to the one Sonny (the evolving robot) asks in the 2004 sci-fi thriller “I, Robot”. The question “Who do people say that the Son of Man is”, it seems, comes from a man who wishes to disturb and who may be himself disturbed. Is this question coming from a man that is beginning to understand his unique and divine destiny, perhaps even baffled at the fact of who he is, now looking for clarification from his friends? Much like that of our robotic friend Sonny, Jesus is searching for an answer. But unlike Sonny, who needs to hear the answer, Jesus is asking, I believe, because the disciples need to hear the answer.
If the disciples were honest here, the names they offer up as answers might have included the less admired ones: blasphemer, false prophet, criminal, mad man. Jesus then turns the question to those with him. “Who do you say I am?” Peter now makes his profession. “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Imagine being asked this question. I wonder how you might proclaim your faith in naming Jesus. I wonder the names you attribute to Jesus that may go beyond the usual identifiers: Lord of Life; King of kings; prophet and priest; Rock and Redeemer; my soul’s salvation; Holy Healer; Mighty Messiah; the Way, the Truth, the Life; my God and my Savior. I encourage you to ponder this question for yourself. Jesus is asking you still today – “Who do you say I am?”
Prayer: Lord, Peter was bold in his profession that you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I pray I can be as bold in my profession each and every day. Give me strength to live a life worthy to follow you. Give me faith to profess your messianic identity. Give me humility to proclaim your Lordship through my actions. Amen.
Author: Ben Brannan
[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].