Summary: A short talk encouraging us to know Jesus - and when we know him, he helps us to know who we really are, and who we can become.
Jesus takes his disciples aside and asks them, “What about you? Who do you say I am?” (16:15).
A teaching assistant accused of looting. An 11 year old girl appears in court and admits breaking windows in Nottingham. Teenagers appear before Magistrates with no parent in attendance. Magistrates ask, “Where are their parents?” Two girls interviewed by the BBC at 9.30 a.m. in the morning, drinking Rosé wine stolen from a shop the night before. They say, “It’s about showing the police and the rich people that we can do what we want.” In Gloucester Park the Fire Brigade are pelted with missiles whilst putting out a fire – and people ask, “Why is this happening? What’s wrong?”
A BBC website offered up 10 reasons: Welfare dependence, Social exclusion, Lack of Fathers, Spending cuts, Weak Policing, Racism, Gangsta Rap, Consumerism, Opportunism and Social Networking.
David Cameron tells parliament about “deep moral failures” in our country, and I want to say, “The one under-lying reason for this week’s riots is Sin; and sin is humanity’s rejection of God. It’s because men, women and children have forgotten who they are, and it’s because we have forgotten who God is. It is because human-kind does not know the answer to the question that Jesus asks: “Who do you say I am?”
Jesus takes his disciples aside and asks them, “What about you? Who do you say I am?” (16:15). People in the community had noticed that Jesus was speaking and acting like prophets from earlier centuries. He wasn’t gentle Jesus, meek and mild! He was fervent Jesus, passionate and wild! Ordinary people understood that the message coming from Jesus made sense. He was Good-News for ordinary people.
Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” and he asks us this: Who do you say Jesus is?
Who is Jesus? The disciple Simon Peter was right when he said, “You are the Christ [the Messiah, the Saviour], the Son of the living God” (16:16).
It’s an exchange that affects who we are. It will affect how we live, how we behave, how we respond, how we think, how we speak, how we act - If Jesus is Son of the living God what are we doing about it? He’s the answer to ‘Life, the universe and everything’!
If we believe that Jesus was with God from the very start (John 1:1-3), creating the whole universe; if we believe He is the Saviour of the world (John 3:16); if we believe he is the Christ, the Saviour, healer, defender of the weak, the hope of nations; what is our response and what are we doing about it?
If Jesus is who he says he is we cannot sit idly at home or on our backsides in Church whilst the world needs to know who Jesus is, and what Jesus does.
Baroness Caroline Cox recently said, “I can’t do everything, but I must not do nothing.”
St. Theresa said, "Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about - doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." But we’re not just the hands and feet and eyes of Jesus. We’re also His mouthpiece, called to tell the world who he is!
Friends, do you really know who Jesus is? He knows who you are (Psalm 139)! He made you, loves you, wants you to know his forgiveness and peace, and wants to give you a purpose in life.
Who do you say I am? You’re the Christ, Son of the living God; and Jesus says, “Yes, You’ve got it. You’re blessed! Now let me tell you who you are.”
As you follow Jesus you’ll find out who you really are! He’ll shape and transform you daily so you become more like him, more who you were created to be.
Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons in the 2nd century said this: “Our Lord Jesus Christ …became what we are [so] that he might make us what he himself is”. Friends, did you know that the goal of our faith is to become like Jesus? Are we becoming more like him?
Imagine how Peter felt as Jesus looks into the future, to what will be, and says, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church” (16:18).
What, me? Yes, you!
Jesus sees through and beyond what we are; to what we can be in his hands; and since we are called to be the hands, feet and mouthpiece of Christ, he will use us to see through and beyond what people are, to what they can be in the hands of Christ, transformed.