theology-jesus2

 If we know the story of Jesus, we know that 'Who do you say that I am?' is a life or death question. My destiny hinges on my answer.

What do we do with this question? Do we say Yes to Christ and bow to his authority as the Son of God, as Peter did? You are the Christ!' (Mk. 8:29). Peter's answer proclaims who Jesus is, but what does it mean? We can see that it is a decisive answer, but also a dangerous answer, because Jesus 'warned them not to tell anyone about him. (Mk. 8:30) Not yet. They should wait until his time came, until his Father, our Father, vindicated his mission and his person, raising him from the dead. Peter's reply says that Jesus is both God, infinitely other than us, and a human being like ourselves.

This interpretation hardly makes the question of who Jesus is easier to understand, 'so we might well wonder what it means. Traditionally Jesus' question and Peter's answer have not just been regarded as historical matters 'back then'; they are about me now: If a person like me in everyway but for my ungodliness can also be God, what does that say about me? What may I be? And what am I then called to be?

'You are gods!' Jesus teaches, in addressing the Jewish authorities on a point of law, (Jn. 10:34 cf. Ps.82:6). We human beings are potentially 'partakers of the divine nature' (2 Pet. 1:4), here and now Paul says, we are, 'members of God's household,' seated with him 'in the heavenly realms' (Eph. 2:19, 6). How do we activate that potential? How do we magnify these claims? How do we realize ourselves as all that we are, as all that God would have us be? These questions arise immediately when we ask who Jesus is.

The prophet Simeon was right when he held the baby Jesus in his arms and said, 'This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel…' (Lk. 2:34). Jesus would upset the moral order in Israel and then the world. No more would worldly status and outward qualifications signify truth and purity before God, because of Jesus and who he is. And who is he? You only have to open the door of your heart and find out, for he says: 'Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.' (Rev. 3:20).

Come Lord Jesus!

 

Copyright ©  Dr Matthew Del Nevo, Dean of Research and Development, Broken Bay Institute for Catholic Formation and Education: Centre for Christian Spirituality