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.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.”
But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
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.
When I experience doubt or confusion in my faith, I am so encouraged by the disciples in this story. Even those who walked with Jesus every day had trouble understanding who he was and what their relationship with him meant.
What can Peter teach us here? He is ready to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, but he understandably rejects the idea of the cross. Avoiding suffering and opposition, though, is not the position of Jesus. Instead, we take up our cross and follow Jesus, knowing that Jesus is with us when we encounter trouble and trials.
Today, let us begin by telling Jesus that we believe. Then, let us try to look at our lives as Jesus does, through the great mystery of the cross, and see where Jesus is with us, even in our worst times.
—Beth Franzosa teaches in the Religious Studies department at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.
Jesus, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Help me to follow you more closely, and let me know that you are with me. Amen.
—Beth FranzosaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!