Today’s Gospel reading, from Luke chapter 9, begins:
Once when Jesus was praying by himself, 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 Christ of God.” Luke 9:18-20
Reflecting on this passage, I wondered how Jesus’ questions would be answered today.
Who do the crowds say that I am?
According to Barna research (https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/714-what-do-americans-believe-about-jesus-5-popular-beliefs#.V2Da8rsrLIU):
- 92% of Americans believe Jesus was a real person who actually lived.
- 56% of Americans believe Jesus is God, while 26% say he was just a religious leader, on par with the Buddha or Mohammed.
- 46% of Americans believe Jesus remained sinless throughout his life, while 52% believe Jesus committed sins, just like other people.
On-the-street interviews asking the question “Who is Jesus?” garner a variety of answers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB2cvvHtqsA, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=johNLhZ5y48, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm308hopZhU, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YztvjePz0uk):
Who do the Bible and the Church say that I am?
But who do you say that I am?
This is perhaps the most important question. I challenge you to think and pray about it, and write down your answer to this question. I would love it if you would share your answer with me.
Here is my answer, at this time in my life: