Friday, August 19, 2011

Gospel Text for Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Matthew 16:13-20

When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

1 comment:

  1. I want to begin by telling you a story. A reporter was doing a story on a man named Pedro. He was from a small impoverished village near Zacatecas, Mexico. Pedro came to the US illegally as a teenager. He is married now, has had his own successful business for fifteen years. He and his wife have two sons and a daughter. All three children are doing well in school. The family, including Pedro’s mother and sister, live in a modest home, work hard, have no debt.

    When the reporter asked a US Immigration agent, who do you say this man Pedro is? The immigration agent answered, “A criminal.”
    When the reporter asked Pedro’s mother, who do you say this man is? His mother answered, He is my beloved son. He has saved our family from poverty. He takes good care of us. He is a good citizen.
    When the reported asked Pedro’s children, who do you say this man is? They answered,
    He is our father. He teaches us to be good. He shows us the way of freedom and life.
    Who do you say this man is? A criminal? A beloved son? A good father? A child of God?
    One man. Multiple identities? It is a matter of perspective.

    Speaking of multiple identities,
    Jesus and the disciples had been through a lot together since the time Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee and he called the first disciples Simon called Peter, Andrew, James and John. They heard Jesus’ great sermon on the mountain and watched him touch and heal lepers and blind men and even stop the wind and waves of an enormous storm at sea. They also watched Jesus violate social customs and break lots of rules… not fasting when he was supposed to, eating with sinners, and touching the untouchables.

    I imagine if a reporter had been embedded on the scene there is every chance she would have asked the religious officials, “Who do you say this man Jesus is?” And the religious officials would have answered, “He is a heretic and a blasphemer.”
    And if the reporter asked the Pharisees,” Who do you say this man is, The Pharisees would have answered, “ Beelzebul.” And if the reporter asked Simon Peter, “Who do you say this man is?” Simon Peter would have answered, “ The Messiah, the son of the living God.” Who do you say this man, Jesus is? A sinner? A heretic? The Son of God?
    One man. Multiple identities. It’s a matter of perspective.

    Identity has a lot to do with your point of view. Identity is determined in relationship, it identity is something more than the eyes can see and the ears can hear. Identity is tied to the relationships we make primary in our lives. Peter recognized that for his friend and teacher Jesus, his primary relationship was with God the father…. and so Peter identified Jesus as the son of the living God, the Messiah.

    And if the hypothetical embedded reporter had asked one of the women who overheard Peter’s answer to the question, ”Who do you say this man is?” the woman might have answered, “ He is the one we have been waiting for, to show us the way of living and being in relationship with God.”

    Identity has everything to do with relationship. It is a matter of perspective.

    Who do you say this man Jesus is?