As a partial fulfilment for their BA degree, a group of students at UoJ were given an extended essay to do a research paper on the topic: ‘Who is Jesus?’ As part of their research strategy, they used the participant observation methodology.

Time came for their essays to be assessed and their supervisor took a critical look at their research work. On their essay grading sheets, they had excellent points on their:

• Knowledge and understanding of the research topic i.e. familiar with a range of relevant sources- quoting the views points of a number of authoritative sources.

As well as excellent points on their:

• Analysis and logical development

This was also true of their

• Presentation techniques.

However most of them were not smart enough with their synthesis/creativity and independent thoughts in their discourse on the research topic.

One of them, though, was quite smart. He went beyond just quoting relevant view points and presented his independent and distinctive view point. He therefore got an A+.

That was the way I saw our Gospel reading for today (i.e. Matthew chapter 16 verses 13 to 20), when I read it the other day.

I saw Jesus’ disciples as students of the UoJ (that is the University of Jehovah) and doing a BA programme; meaning Born Again and Jesus their supervisor and personal tutor.

I guess all of us here see ourselves as students of Jesus- in other words, his followers and Jesus being our personal tutor, through the work of the Holy Spirit.

I believe Jesus is interested in the viewpoints people have about him- what people say about him; be it the Archbishop of Canterbury, our Area Bishop, our Vicar, or myself.

What is however very important to Him is our personal understanding of who Jesus is. I believe Jesus is asking each of us the same question he asked His disciples centuries ago: ‘who do you say I am?’

Like the smart student- Simon BarJonah, do you recognise Jesus as the Messiah? (Messiah means among other meanings- the Saviour, the Anointed King). Do you therefore recognise and accept Jesus in your life as your Saviour (the One who can save us from Hell)? Do you recognise and accept Him as your Anointed King? The one who wants to rules over your life?

Like the mature student- Mr. BarJonah, our confession should be: Jesus is the Messiah i.e. the only Saviour- who can save us from eternal separation from God. He is the King of kings, who wants to rule our lives. We must not only confess that truth but believe and accept Him as our Saviour and King. In addition, we must proclaim it loud and clear (amidst the noise of political correctness) that He is the Messiah- the only Saviour for humankind and the Anointed King, who wants to rule the hearts of everybody- both great and small.

It is my prayer that many will come to recognise Jesus as their Messiah- as their Saviour and King; in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

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