March 02, 2008

So I Said to the Guy…

By Rusty Montgomery *

“But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.”
–Matthew 16: 15-18

If you are Catholic this is THE verse to know. It is the passage that is perpetually referred to in declaring the start of the one true Church. When the words sink in we cannot help but be proud to be linked to Peter, the first Pope of our beloved Church. As great as the outcome of the story is, let’s go back for a second and focus upon the question that was asked to Peter. The question that Jesus asked and the answer that Peter gave was a moment that changed Peter and the Church.

Who do you say that I am?

A few verses prior to this question, Jesus asked the same question but wanted to know who everyone else was saying He was. The disciples reflected and said that most people thought that Jesus was Elijah, John the Baptist, or another prophet. Disappointed, he then turned to his own disciples to see what their answer was.  Nothing like being put on the spot uh? I can imagine them looking around at one another and thinking to themselves, “this is not going to go well.” My friends, the question that Jesus asks gets at the heart of the matter. Jesus is basically asking “who am I to you?” Am I just a good man, a talented teacher, a fisherman, and a guy who wants to be a king? This is a pivotal moment in the Gospel because the people around Jesus have to for the first time, declare from their hearts who He is to them.

Who is He to you? 

You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God

With great courage, Peter stands up among the other disciples and answers his master. From his heart, Peter declares Jesus as God. As he declares his understanding of Jesus, it is like Peter and Jesus’ relationship changed. At that moment Jesus rewards Peter for his courage and faith and grants him special name and calling in the Church. Let us not think for one second that this was a coincidence.  Peter defined who Jesus was to him and a second later Jesus defined who Peter was to be for Him and his Church.

What is He to you?

So often we keep Jesus as a statue on the bookshelf next to the Harry Potter books or as a cross that hangs on the wall next to our Shaq or High School Musical posters. It seems that Jesus is just a figure to us and not a person or for that matter, God. And we all know it is hard to know and love a mere figure or a plaster of paris statue.

My friends, Lent is a great time to recognize and define Christ in our lives. It is time to proclaim to ourselves and the world who Jesus is to us. He is our God, our King, our Savior, and our Friend.  When we do this, we can have great confidence in our Lord that as we declare and define who He is to us, He will then reveal who we are to Him. In the end, isn’t this how relationships work?

Do not let another day go by without reflecting and declaring who the Lord is in your life.

Jesus is asking, “Who do you say that I am?...”

My Lord, you are God - my hope and joy...

God Bless You,


Question of the week: Who is Jesus in your life? Who do you want Him to be?

Rusty is a seminarian at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Nebraska and is the co-founder of Live Greater Ministries. The ministry's aim is to invite the youth of the Church into a dialogue about the present culture and how Jesus invites us to a relationship with him, finding true happiness and greater purpose.  More information can be found on their website at

* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.


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