Jesus and the disciples travel together for a long time. They spend so much time together. He knows all of their names. They know his name, too, of course—just like we do! But then, in the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus asks the disciples a strange question:
“who do you say that I am?”
The disciples have traveled with him for a long time now. Of course they know who he is! Does Jesus think they have forgotten his name?
Peter answers, but he does not call him Jesus. Instead he names him this way:
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Peter says who Jesus is, who he belongs to, and what he will do.
So...Who is Jesus?
Peter says Jesus is the Messiah. This means "Anointed One."
Anointed One? What does that mean?
To be anointed means to have oil poured over our body or rubbed into our skin. Oil is not like water. Water runs off our skin, but oil sinks in. It becomes part of who we are. When someone is anointed, not just any oil is used, but holy oil-—oil filled with the presence of God. What could it mean for Jesus to have oil filled with the presence of God rubbed into his skin? How special must he be?
Chosen by God.
He has God with him.
This is who Jesus is.
And...Who does Jesus belong to?
Peter calls Jesus the Son of the living God. So we know who Jesus belongs to.
He belongs to God; he is God's child; he is the Son of God.
The angel Gabriel says this to Mary. Now Peter knows it, too. We have to wonder... how does Peter know this?
What else...? What will Jesus do?
Peter calls Jesus "the Son of the living God."
The living God.
God who lives.
God who gives life.
God, whose life is so much stronger than death.
If Jesus belongs to the living God, what will he do?
We know that Jesus dies on the cross but rises to new life, never to die again. He has the life of the living God! So much stronger than death.
(How does Peter know this before it ever happens?)
Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
Peter names Jesus this way. He tells us
who Jesus is,
who he belongs to,
and what he will do.
But perhaps Peter tells us a wee bit more?
Perhaps he tells us who we are, too.
Jesus is the Anointed One, chosen by God. But when we are baptized, holy oil is rubbed onto our head. Right on the top of our head, on the crown of our head, the special Christ Oil is rubbed in this shape:
We are anointed, too!
We are also chosen by God; we also belong to the living God!
We have to wonder...what will we do?