Who Is Jesus?
(Matthew 16.13-19; Mark 8.27-29)
18When Jesus was alone praying, his disciples came to him, and he asked them, “What do people say about me?”
19 They answered, “Some say you are John the Baptist or Elijah or a prophet from long ago who has come back to life.”
20 Jesus then asked, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah sent from God.”
21Jesus strictly warned his disciples not to tell anyone about this.
Jesus Speaks about
(Matthew 16.20-28; Mark 8.30—9.1)
22Jesus told his disciples, “The nation's leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. They will reject him and kill him, but three days later he will rise to life.”
23 Then Jesus said to all the people:
If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross every day and follow me. 24 If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will save it. 25What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself or waste your life? 26If you are ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his glory and in the glory of his Father and the holy angels. 27You can be sure some of the people standing here will not die before they see God's kingdom.
There are a few experiences in life that are unforgettable and life transforming. As we journey through life and reflect back on our own story, we can all remember moments that marked our life.
Interestingly, the text we are reading today is that one experience that Peter marks out in his own experience and wrote about it in 2 Peter 1:16-18.
In Luke’s recounting the story, he places this event at a very critical moment. Peter’s confession (9:20) gave way to Jesus’ announcement of the events to come. This necessitated a transforming experience. Jesus is not just divinely inspired, he is God. The event takes place eight days after the previous encounter. Memories are still fresh.
Jesus, together with Peter, John and James are on a mountain. The location brings back memories of critical events in Jewish history. It was on a mountain that Moses received the Torah (Exodus 24) and Elijah went straight into God’s presence (2 Kings 2). The canon of Jewish scriptures concludes by talking about these two men (Malachi 4:4-6).
The voice from heaven declares, “This is my Son, whom I love; with whom I have chosen.” But then there is a small addition, “Listen to him.” The disciples kept this event to themselves according to Luke. When Peter writes about it 30 years later, he really had listened.
LORD Jesus, I desire to listen to you afresh. Change my life as I follow you.
Dr. Glenn Smith is married to Sandra and together they have three daughters, Jenna, Julia and Christa and two granddaughters They are the pastors of a missional community network in their church in Montréal – a multi-site congregation in five locations. Glenn did his graduate studies at the Université d’Ottawa and his doctoral thesis at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago. He was the Executive Director of Christian Direction in Montreal 1983 – 2018. He is the Dean of the Faculty of Practical Theology at Presbyterian College at McGill University and the the Institut de théologie pour la francophonie, accredited by Université Laval. He also teaches in Haïti. Publications: co-author of Espoir pour la ville; Dieu dans la cité (Hope for the city, God in the city); Following Jesus: God invites us to transformative discipleship and author of City Air Makes You Free.