Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Jesus’ question—“Who do you say that I am?”—has a straight-forward answer: “The Son of the living God.” As modern-day readers, it’s obvious. The question almost feels condescending, as though Jesus is checking in to make sure his followers have been paying attention.
But what if I put myself in the story as Jesus? What if I ask the question of my friends and family? How do they answer? Am I a father, husband, teacher, writer?
I’m ever mindful that this question of identity can be sliced in dozens of ways—even more so as we project images of ourselves across social media that may hardly resemble lived reality. Our answer may vary based on who we’re talking to.
Who do people say that we are really? The question, then, becomes less about the self-image we project and more about how we are received by, and how we treat others.
—Eric Clayton is a senior communications manager at the Jesuit Conference.
Lord Jesus, from the start
You invite ordinary people to come to where you live.
When they come, you welcome them
and call them to labor and rejoice with you.
You are the most beautiful among all men,
and I hardly believe you want me for your friend.
You are powerful, Lord.
Draw me more and more into your friendship
and lead me along the way you took with friends.
—Joseph Tetlow, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!