August 23, 2020: Hard Questions?

haze in a meadow
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Have you ever been asked a hard question? Stopped by the police, you hear, “Do you know why I stopped you?” In a friendship or a relationship you are asked, “What do you think about me?” or “What do I mean to you?” (Sometimes we are afraid to ask because we are afraid of the answer.) There comes a time when every relationship gets personal, when you have to figure out for yourself just who that other person is to you, or what they mean to you.

Caesarea Philippi was located in the far north of Galilee. History tells us that the region around Caesarea Philippi was covered with temples, idols, and gods. One day Jesus took his disciples there for no apparent reason—or so it seems. In the middle of all this spiritual darkness, Jesus asked the question, “Who do people say that I am?” They heard what everyone else was saying, so they answered. “Some folks say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

That’s when Jesus got personal. He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). Hmmm . . . I can just see the look on the disciples’ faces. I’ve been with this man all along, but what does he really mean to me? It is one thing to ask what other people think about something; it’s quite another to be asked what you think, feel, and believe. “Who do you say that I am?” That’s what Jesus wanted to know.

Jesus gets in our faces, just as he got in the disciples’ faces and asks us, just as he asked them, “Who do you say that I am?” Who is Jesus to you? What does he mean to you?

It is time for us to stop and think awhile—and answer the hard questions.

Nasel Ephraim, pastor, Redeemer Moravian Church,

 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania