“Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do YOU say that I am?” Our scripture professor at St. Paul Seminary commented that these two questions posed by Jesus in today’s gospel are the most important questions in the entire bible. The response to the first reflects what a person has learned from theological study, scripture reading, and the opinion and testimony of other people. The response to the second indicates what that person, after reflecting and perhaps wrestling with what he or she has been told by others, now believes in his or her mind and heart. How would you answer these two questions?
When Peter professed that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, his understanding of what that meant was formed by popular hopes in a worldly leader who would bring usher in a new age of prominence and prosperity for the Jewish people. When Jesus went on to speak of his suffering and death, Peter, overconfident in having correctly identified Jesus as the Christ, tries to correct and assure Jesus not to even consider such things. For trusting in his human logic rather than seeking guidance from God, Peter is called a Satan, indicating that his words had been an actual temptation for Jesus. How often do we, like Peter, evaluate situations by human or worldly standards rather than those of God?