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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, April 9, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 8:27–30

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. (NRSV)

Who am I? The answer to that question depends on whom one asks. A parent might say, “she is my loving daughter.” A niece may answer, “She’s my aunt who taught me to swim.” A next-door neighbor might reply, “Oh, that’s the lady who gardens,” while a coworker responds, “She tests websites.” We can be known by our name, by our family connections, by our vocation, or by the company we keep.

When Jesus asks, “Who do people say I am?” he is asking how he is seen by others. Jesus was known as a healer, a teacher, a prophet, even as the reincarnated John the Baptist. But when Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” he’s asking a different question, a personal question. Jesus wants to know who his disciples, these men who have been with him almost constantly for three years now, honestly believe he is from deep within their hearts.

When Peter responds, “You are the Messiah,” he is confessing his faith in Jesus. He is stating his belief that Jesus is more than a prophet; he is the one they’ve been waiting for, the one who is here to save us from our sins.

God of my salvation, I pray to see you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly. Father, lead me in my desire for a deeper faith in you and a stronger devotion to you, that I may bear witness to the saving power of your love and grace. Amen.

Written by Sarah Younger, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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