Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
Lent is traditionally a season to reflect on Jesus’ journey to the cross and its implications for our daily lives. And, in this series, we will be doing so through the lens of six questions.
Who do you say Jesus is?
Imagine someone asked that of you. What might you say?
It is a good question for Lent as we remember Jesus’ journey to Calvary. After all, who we think Jesus is and what we think he is like will have a significant bearing on our own hopes, aspirations, prayers, and actions.
Jesus was asking the question in a context where his identity was a matter of urgent public debate. Responses differed – John the Baptist, prophet, Elijah, blasphemer, madman, agent of the devil.
By contrast, the first words that occur to you might not be to do with Jesus’ pre-eminence as King of the Cosmos, his role as Saviour, his genius as Teacher, or his essence as the Incarnate Word of God… No, your first word might be ‘kind’, as mine was when a satirist on a late-night BBC programme asked me that question. Or your first word might be ‘friend’, in line with your own experience of walking with Jesus and his promise to those who he could trust with his plans. Whatever your answer, give thanks for its reality in your life.
Peter, of course, got the answer right, even if it immediately became clear that he didn’t understand what kind of Messiah Jesus would turn out to be. Certainly, after the cross, resurrection, ascension, Pentecost, and years of relationship, Peter’s understanding of Jesus deepened and expanded. Similarly, Lent, in its movement towards Jesus’ infinitely loving sacrifice on the cross, represents an opportunity to allow God to expand our own wonder at who he is.
What aspects of who Jesus is might merit your reflection in this season?
If he is sovereign Lord of all creation, might you ask for his provision for a resource challenge at work?
If he is the one who knows ‘what is in each person’ (John 2:25) might you seek his wisdom to minister to a colleague or friend? Or to reveal what he might want to transform in you?
If he is the one who came ‘not to be served but to serve’ (Matthew 20:28), what might that mean for you in your various roles – boss, subordinate, friend, parent, child?
If he is the image of the invisible God, though whom and by whom all things were made (Colossians 1:15–16), and yet also the one who gave his life for yours, how might that enrich your worship, and shape your everyday interactions in his world?
Mission Champion, LICC