“Who do people say I am?” “But you, who do you say I am?”

Mark 8:28.29

Monday, 13 September 2021

Mark 8:27-35

“Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

To Jesus’ question, “Who do the people say I am?” the disciples reply that some think Jesus is John the Baptist or Elijah or one of the prophets. Jesus’ closest followers, however, have eventually come to believe that Jesus is the awaited Messiah, the anticipated son of David, and Peter now speaks for them all as he proclaims this faith, “You are the Christ.” They recognise that Jesus truly is the One promised by God, the Christ.

The Christ, the Messiah, was expected by the Israelites for generations. However, they were expecting a political leader who would set them free from their subjection to Roman rule and freedom in their religious, economic and political expression. If the crowds tried to make Jesus a political figure -their idea of his role – then Jesus’ mission would be compromised. Jesus could not risk this, and so he asked the disciples to keep their newfound conviction a secret.

And Jesus also immediately turns their ideas of the Messiah upside down, saying, “the Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously.” How uncomfortable and confused they must have felt. Now after two thousand years, we know the story and accept without a blink that Jesus, the Incarnate God, who came to connect heaven and earth, suffered crucifixion, a punishment both deeply humiliating and an agonising way to die. How different from what they expected.

Let me pause for a moment and consider Jesus’ question now put to me, “But you, who do you say I am? Will I align myself with God’s ongoing mission even when it seems confusing to me?

“.. for anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8:35)

Gracious God,

Help us to co-operate with your vision by surrendering to your will. Help us to use our gifts with gratitude and joy. Help us to trust that what we learn in our difficulties will gift us with compassion and understanding which will serve both ourselves and your whole creation. Help us to come to the fullness of life which you promise by living in loving service. Unite us to Yourself, Creator God, Redeeming Son and Sanctifying Spirit, now and always. .

Amen.

 
Katharine Knowles

Katharine Knowles was educated at the Dominican Convent of Our Lady of Mercy in Springs; and at the University of the Witwatersrand where she did a B.Sc. Physiotherapy graduating in 1973. She worked in this field, except for a few child-bearing years, until retirement in the last few years. She was trained as a spiritual director by the Jesuit Institute. She is deeply grateful for the gift of 3 children and 4 grandchildren (so far). Hobbies include walking, reading, being in nature and travel.

email@jesuitinstitute.org.za
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