When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi* he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist,* others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16).
Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Messiah of God” (Luke 9:18-20).
I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship, Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:1-2).
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Now the Lord is the Spirit,and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
How would you answer, if Jesus were to ask you the same question he asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Maybe you have been taught your catechism and learned that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior, and the Messiah. Maybe you have searched the Scriptures and can point to stories where he taught and healed and died and rose again. Or maybe you have had a personal encounter with him and can say that he is your Lord, brother, and friend- and he is intimately involved in your life.
But apart from the words you speak, there are other ways of “saying” who Jesus is. Every compassionate thought, every decision to do good is another way of telling yourself, the Lord, and the world around you that you have faith in Jesus and that you want to honor him. Impulses like these come from a heart that wants to please the Lord.
What’s more, when you hold your tongue instead of saying an angry word, or when you catch an unkind thought, or when you choose to let go of a bad memory, you are also proclaiming who Jesus is—and who he is in your life. When you say no to a temptation to sin, or make the effort to counteract evil with good, you are proclaiming Jesus.
Let’s go even further! Your entire life can be conformed to Jesus and his words, and not to “this age” (Romans 12:2); so that with a renewed mind your every word, gesture, and response to situations speaks volumes about who he is. Every day, you can “offer your body as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1). Every day you can remind yourself that you are a “new creation” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and are being transformed more and more into his image (2 Corinthians 3:17). As you do this, you yourself can become a living statement of faith, a breathing revelation of Jesus and his love. What a motivation this can be as you face areas of your life that aren’t yet fully surrendered to Jesus!
Today, let Jesus into every area of your life and ask him to heal them just a little more and help you overcome them. That way, your life can give a clearer answer to the most important question Jesus will ever ask: “Who do you say that I am?”
“Lord Jesus, I want my life to be a living statement of who you are and what you have done in my life. I am a new creation in you, and I don’t want to hold anything back from you. I want to be transformed into your image by the renewal of my mind. I want to be like you in every way, so that I can clearly proclaim you to the world.”
Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing me to adapt meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Take some time to meditate and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What do you think God is trying to reveal to you through them?
- The article begins with these words: “How would you answer, if Jesus were to ask you the same question he asked his disciples, ‘Who do you say that I am?’” What would be your answer?
- How well do your thoughts, words, and actions convey to others the reality of who Jesus is and your relationship with him? What steps can you take to do even better?
- Do you believe, as the article suggests, that in spite of the everyday distractions of this world, and our own busyness, you can “be conformed to Jesus and his words, and not to ‘this age’ (Romans 12:2), so that with a renewed mind your every word, gesture, and response to situations speaks volumes about who he is?
- The article goes on to suggest to us that: “Every day, you can ‘offer your body as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God’ (Romans 12:1). Every day you can remind yourself that you are ‘a new creation’ in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and are being transformed more and more into his image (2 Corinthians 3:17).” Are you willing to “experiment” with this in the upcoming weeks? What do you think will be the fruits of doing this?
- Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace you need so that “your life can give a clearer answer to the most important question Jesus will ever ask: ‘Who do you say that I am?’” Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.