“He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” Mk 8: 29
The Gospel reading this morning centers on two questions. “Who do the people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?” It’s hard for me to divorce these two questions from the questions surrounding our President. Let me be clear, President Donald Trump is NOT like Jesus. However, the current situation serves as an excellent teaching example of Jesus’ questions.
When Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do the people say that I am?” the people are undecided. The lack of agreement suggests confusion. If I were to ask people about President Trump, probably the only point of agreement would be, he is our president. The opinions of people are strong, divided, and confused. However, the question gains clarity when it becomes personal. Who do you say President Trump is?
No matter how you answer the question, your answer comes with expectations. These expectations are often associated with power. We tend to believe truth is a force we can hammer down on other people. If the President is a genius, why are his opponents not succumbing to his wisdom? Presidential advisor Stephen Miller provided a wonderful example of this when defending the president this weekend. If he is a quack, why is he not being tried in a court of law? This one is being played out in legislation over the President Trump’s immigration ban.
The truth will eventually come to the surface. However, it is a slower process than we would like and often does not match our expectations.
When Peter answers the question about his personal opinion, he answers correctly. Jesus is the Messiah. However, the correct answer does not match Peter’s expectations. Peter wanted the Messiah to overthrow Roman rule. Jesus, though, comes to deliver a deeper and more profound truth. God does not kill the strong to give strength to the weak. God meets us in our greatest need, our weakness, and grants us strength. This is not the same thing as giving us what we want. It will be a difficult journey for Peter to understand this truth, but he will learn it. Then he will pass the lesson on to us. Today, what is your greatest need and how can God tend to that need?
Click to read: Mark 8: 27-33
- Who do the people around you say Jesus is?
- Who do you say Jesus is?
- How do the things people say about Jesus shape your understand of him?
- What are your expectations of God?
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