First Reading: Gen 9:1-13; Psalm: 102. R. v. 20b; Gospel: Mk 8:27-33
THE IDENTITY OF JESUS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“And he asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ (Mark 8:29)
This question of Jesus if directed to us today would attract many appealing and interesting answers. Such as, “The miracle worker,” “The great provider,” “The mighty man in battle,” “The God of impossibilities,” and so on. Most likely, this is how many of us would identify Jesus because we are more inclined to give God these names based on the things he has done for us or for others. Well, these names do not say anything false regarding what Jesus can do. But do they really represent the real identity of Jesus?
If someone was a good teacher or singer, such a person was able to display these qualities drawing from his/her personhood. But these qualities cannot be said to be the real identity of this person. Who we are is more than what we can do that people can see. Essence is the real identity of all things. And essence does not subsist on empirical evidence. Although the answer of Peter, “You are the Christ” was drawn from empirical evidence; this answer however transcended empirical facts to reveal the essence of Jesus – “The Son of God.”
If our knowledge of Jesus does not transcend the things we see that he does for us, then we really do not know him. Yes, Jesus is a miracle worker and a great provider. He is mighty in battle and does the impossible. But the true identity of Jesus does not subsist in these wonderful works. The great things that Jesus does for us are only signs or a reflection pointing to his real identity as God. So if we understood Jesus based on what he does for us; that will be a selfish and imperfect knowledge that will cease to exist if he does nothing for us. Jesus is God. And whether he provides for us or not, does not change who he is.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us to grow in knowledge of you. Amen.