Sunday of week 21 in Ordinary Time – August 27 / 2017
The word of the Lord!
Psalm 137(138):1-3,6,8Second reading
How rich are the depths of God – how deep his wisdom and knowledge – and how impossible to penetrate his motives or understand his methods! Who could ever know the mind of the Lord? Who could ever be his counsellor? Who could ever give him anything or lend him anything? All that exists comes from him; all is by him and for him. To him be glory for ever! Amen. The word of the Lord!
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said, ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’ Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ. The gospel of the Lord!
The person of Jesus Christ has drawn huge controversies from the religious and academic terrains for both religious/academic leaders and scholars. These controversies experienced during the life of Jesus persist to this day; I bet it won’t end till Jesus comes. Jesus often regarded himself as “the Son of Man” one of the humblest ways of self appellation. In today’s gospel he clears all doubts and misnomers attributed to him. Peter said: “You are the Christ, the son of the Living God.” One may wonder – what’s the big deal about this clarification?
Why must Jesus take time to reveal himself? This would be understood clearly if we go through the passage and see the responses that the general public attributed to Jesus. Some say he is – John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Today, this question goes to you – Who is Jesus Christ? Until you are guided by the spirit of God you would only be subjected to definitions and explanations of flesh and blood which amounts to what the eyes, ears and mind can physically perceive; unfortunately that is not much. The second reading advises that we draw from the wisdom of God. Jesus is the Christ (the saviour of the world) the Son of the Living God – hence Jesus is not dead but alive. Point to note is that the knowledge of Jesus Christ in hinged on heavenly wisdom and not wisdom of the world.
Jesus the most controversial man ever to live: He is significant for dates (Before Christ BC and Anno Domino AD – in the year of the Lord) in the Julian or Gregorian Calendar. He was tagged a criminal – by the Jews; called the great prophet Isa – by the Muslims; regarded as a great man/ master/teacher – by many intellectuals like Ghandi; and more importantly, as God – by Christians. He was poor and tagged the King of the Jews; He was dead and yet Christians, after 2,000 years, claim he lives. Can you see why Jesus asked the question. He knows that it is important to stop the confusion, especially amongst his apostles, believers and followers.
So who is Jesus to you? The readings of the day teach us that Jesus is the son of God with power and authority, not just to keep open or close doors; to bound or loose situations in heaven or earth but also to confer power and authority to anyone. Jesus has the keys to the kingdom of heaven; Jesus also has the power to give the keys of the kingdom out. We can relate with the first reading where Shebna is deposed by God and the key of the house of David is given to Eliakim or in the gospel narrative as Peter’s status is elevated.
What we must take away from today’s readings – Jesus has power and authority to act and will into existence; he also has the power to confer power and authority unto another. We must remember as stated in John 1: 12 “Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God’s children. They did not become God’s children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father; God himself was their Father.” We also have assurance in John 8:36 which states that “If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free.”
Jesus is not a n impostor or criminal, he is more than a prophet, and he is not just a great man but the Son of God, through whom God invites all race, colour or creed to become heirs to the throne of God. Read – Romans 8:16-17 Today we must seek Jesus for who he truly is, without confusion or controversy. We must come to him because he has the key to both heavenly or earthly situations. We have to engage the wisdom and spirit of God for revelation into matters far above us, so that the Kingdom of heaven would be truly ours.
I believe and profess that Jesus Christ is the son of God; I believe that I am a child of God and in Christ Jesus, I am joined to the heir of the throne grace of God; I believe that God would declare for me today and forever, the power, authority and blessings he has conferred on his children, in Jesus name I pray, amen!