Just Who Does Jesus Think He Is!
#JustWhoDoesJesusThinkHeIs is the podcast for Aug 27, 2017. How do things become holy? What exactly is the process for that? What does it mean to have a “Holy One”? What does that have to do with Peter and Jesus, and Jesus thinking he is all that? Listen here and find out more: Download it into your phone. #Matthew16 #Peter #Confession #Holy #Tabernacle #Christ #Oil #Anointed #Anointing #Messiah #Oprah #RAchelRay #DrPhil #DrOz #
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For The Church of St. Raphael the Archangel and My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 8/27/2017 The 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read Matthew 16:13-20.
Just who does Jesus think he is! How could he make those claims! How could he want himself to be the focus of your life! What arrogance.
So, last Thursday, I gave a Bible Study called, “Oils of the Ancient Scriptures”. I teamed up with an essential oils person and we passed around the essential oils which have the smell of the oils, ointments, and incense mentioned in Scripture: cedarwood, myrtle, cassia, hyssop, frankincense, myrrh. I talked about how they were used in the Scriptures. It was a wonderful time. One man [priest] in the room with 14 women, what could possibly go wrong?
In my study for the Oils of the Ancient Scriptures Bible study, I stumbled upon Exodus 30, but hadn’t been in my consciousness for some time. It is the great scene of God telling Moses about setting apart the Tent of Meeting, the accoutrements of the Tent of Meeting, and the priests. To set them apart, Moses sprinkles the blood of the sacrifice and he anoints with oil. Leviticus tells us that life is in the blood. That is why we drink the wine become Blood of Christ. Then, he tells Moses, “it shall be a holy anointing oil” and he is to anoint everything in the Tabernacle with it. After the anointing, “whatever touches [the items of the Tabernacle] shall become holy…”
From this point forward, items of the Tent of Meeting, the Temple, and people who were to be holy, Priests, Prophets, and Kings, were to be “set apart” and “made holy” with the anointing of oil. Aaron and all Levites were anointed priests. Saul and David were anointed King, etc. To this day, priests are anointed in the Church, people at baptism, and Confirmation. In fact, the prophets told of one who was THE Anointed One, who would deliver Israel. That one became known in Hebrew as “the Messiah.” “Messias” means anointed one. The same word in Greek is “Christos” which we translate as “Christ”. So, if were to say, “Jesus Christ the Messiah”, we would be redundant.
The “Messiah” or “Christ” would be God’s representative on Earth. To say that the Messiah is also the “Son of the living God” means that he is the presence of God in the flesh. So, when Jesus asks, “who do you all say that I am?” Peter answers on behalf of all the apostles and says that Jesus is indeed the Anointed One; the Messiah, the Christ, who is also the living God in our midst.
We seem to throw around the word “Christ” like it is Jesus’ surname. First name? Jesus. Last Name: uh, Christ? NO! or like it is one word “Jesuschrist.” NO! His name is “Jesus” or literally “God saves”. His title is “Christ” or “Anointed One.” God Saves is the anointed one, who is God in the flesh.
The confession that Peter makes on behalf of all of us is that it is in Jesus that we believe God is saving the world, renewing the world. Not only that, but Peter’s confession in Matthew added that Jesus is the Lord himself who will deliver us. It should not be lost on us that through Jesus, the Lord does not expect us to be better, do more, be perfect, and rise up to him. He is not counting our sins and our good deeds in a balance and then sees if our good deeds outweigh our sins to get entry into heaven. Just in the name, it is significant that it is the Creator of the Universe who is born our birth, walks our walk, talks our talk, lives our life, and lead us to salvation in heaven and at the Second Coming. He changes us to receive the reward he has gotten for us.
Do you all remember Oprah? It has been six years since she went off television. Prior to that, she was the high priestess of American Culture for 25 years. Her show was billed as a “syndicated tabloid”, but it was really the shaper of culture for a long time. If you made it onto Oprah, you made it. She had shows about living, dying, losing weight, gaining weight, cooking, interior decorating, personal finance, abusive relationships, bullying, etc. Her theme song was “I’m every woman”. To her credit, she did everything she could to deliver America. She gave us Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Gayle King, Suze Orman, and Rachel Ray. Yet, for all her greatness, Oprah is not the Messiah. She could not deliver us from our sins or by herself renew the face of the earth. If you said, “I follow Oprah,” that meant you watched her show and read the books in her book list.
To say I follow Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, is to make a claim that is much more expansive. It is to say that you believe that God is renewing the Heavens and the Earth through this man who is also God himself. You believe that there are sins which have caused the entire universe to be put off kilter so that we kill and abuse each other, pollute and abuse the environment, use life for unintended purposes, and which will ultimately lead to our mutual destruction. I would say that as we peruse our smart phones the preponderance of evidence would be on our side in that assumption. That mutual destruction of each other and the world does not make the One who created both very happy. In fact, he has sent Jesus to get us to be transformed.
To say you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, is to say that you believe that it is through him that life has meaning, purpose, and direction. To believe in Jesus as Messiah, means you believe that there is transformation in the Sacraments through which he gives himself to us. You believe that there is an inner transformation that binds us all into a community of faith that is given power, power to bind evil and loose others for the renewal of the Earth.
So, when you say “I follow Jesus the Christ” you are saying that the center of everything is Him. He is the organizing principle of our lives. We change whatever in our lives doesn’t make us closer to him and whatever makes us part of the Church to achieve his mission, as Romans 12 shows us today, too.
To the outside observer, that could just be the height of arrogance. Who does Jesus think he is!
The truth of the matter is that this passage is placed after Jesus warns people about following flawed leaders who do not live what they teach. The passage is followed by Jesus telling us that he is going to die for us, which he does. The one who demands our obedience, if you will, is the one who says, “Love one another,” when we want people to love us. He is the same one that says that we should “love our enemies”. He is the one who says that we should go beyond just not killing people, we should forgive them. He says that we should have mercy on people we would rather ignore, shame, or blame. He says that we should be a community that helps one another be holy, set apart, and anointed, like him.
So, who does Jesus think he is? He knows he is “God saves”. To be his people is to loose and bind to assist in that goal. Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2017.
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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian