|The Happy 90s, 2011, jfd+|
Jesus asks the disciples surrounding him what the "people" out there around them are saying about him...Who those folks think that he is...and they tell him that people are saying that he is Elijah or John the Baptist reborn, or perhaps Jeremiah who has come back to them. Or, maybe, one of the other prophets come to set them straight. Interesting choices Matthew gives: Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah. All of these are individuals who were substantially critical of the ruling classes, and of the people in general, proclaiming how they had lost their way, and that God's voice was present within their proclamations. So the people were getting the message that change needed to happen, but they were missing a piece of Jesus' message. If these folk truly believed Jesus to be one of these prophets reborn, then they also believed disaster was approaching, a disaster caused by God...
So Jesus asks his disciples "But who do you say that I am?"
Don't give me any of this missing-the-mark-group-think you are hearing from those other folk...who am I? Jesus, perhaps, is a bit put off by so many missing a key part of his teachings. Peter saves the day and is well rewarded by the Messiah whom he identifies.
Group-think is a powerful elixir, a comforting tonic for us to swallow. It provides us with certainty that we are not alone. Jesus is asking us to think for ourselves, look at his teachings from our own experiences, and to join him in creating this kingdom that is so very different from the world in which we live. Isolating? From those uncomfortable with this kind of examination, yes. But we are never alone in this digging - for if we truly try to live out these principles Jesus sets forth, we have him, and all those who have gone before, and all those who are with us doing the same spade work to make this place we are gifted to live...better.
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.