Daily Office Readings for Monday of the 6th Week of Easter: Year 1
“He, [Jesus], said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘The Messiah of God.” (Luke 9: 20)
If I have said this once, I have said it at least fifty times, we say who Jesus is by the way we follow in is steps and mannerisms.
We can give voice all day to who we think Jesus is. In fact, wars among Christians have been waged because of differences about who people understood our Lord Jesus to be. Valuable resources went into military might, while people, especially mothers and orphans, of the warring countries were starving for the basic necessities of life.
Some were saying that Jesus comes from the Father and is different from the Father, God Almighty. The opposing view was, or is, that that our Lord Jesus is one and the same as God, being God Incarnate. So we Christians fought to the death about who Jesus is, forgetting that Jesus himself would not lift a finger in violence. Like the apostles of His day, we often still don’t get it.
If we really want to say who Jesus is, we will do so in the way we conduct ourselves. Our Anglican, Episcopal Church says that our Lord Jesus is One with God and therefore God Incarnate. Jesus says quite clearly of himself that “The Father and I are One;” (John 10: 30). Peter says that Jesus is the Messiah “of” God, not “from” God. But we will not fight about it. Nor will we insist that everyone who comes to our Communion rail, believes the exact same thing. Many good Christian works are done by professed Christians who don’t believe the way we do. And, that’s fine.
The question of “Who do you say that Jesus is?, is an important one in terms of how you live your life the way you do. This is a question of religious faith. It is a question of how your religion responds to the real needs of the world. For those of us on the Jesus path, it should not be heated arguments about the origins or essence of Jesus, but rather, what does he command us to do. He commands us to love one another as he loves us, all of us.
About our religion, let us remember the words of James that will be coming to us tomorrow: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world,” (James 1:27). More on this tomorrow.
Let us live to love, more than just love to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John