“But who do you say that I am?” Matthew Mark 7: 29
We are beginning our spiritual journey for the next few years by asking ourselves, “Who is Jesus to me, really?” In Mark, Jesus asks his disciples a version of the same question when He says to them, “Who do you say that I am?” Now, imagine that it was Jesus asking us the question. How do we respond? Peter quickly piped in, “You are the Messiah!” And yet Peter was, in the short term, unsure of who Jesus really was to him. Discovering Jesus’ identity, in all of its complexity, is an important part of our faith journey. Sometimes, however, denial is the only protective device we can think of when faced with who we really understand Jesus to be. It is simply too overwhelming. Will Willimon, retired Methodist bishop and author, in his wonderful book, Why, Jesus, gives Jesus many titles: Healer, Lover, Homewrecker, and, yes, Savior. Savior is the hard one for us because if we see in Jesus the Savior of the world, we are asked another question: “Why do I struggle so to follow him?”
Jesus is more than a savior. He is a prophet, teacher, friend, Son, and, yes, a healer. Jesus speaks to us across time and, when he speaks, His words always carry in them grace, hope, and love, even when He is challenging us to see Him differently or to act in the world, differently. Jesus wears many hats but He asks us, in a voice undimmed by time or context, “Who do you say that I am?” Our answers to that question chart our path forward in our lives and they matter. “Who is Jesus to me, really…who do you say that I am?” Our response can change the world.