JESUS CHRIST ASKED: “WHO DO MEN SAY THAT I AM?”
Jesus asked this question of His disciples, in order to draw from them, what they believed about Him. Peter answered the above question, and no one dissented: “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.”
It is two thousand years since Christ raised this question to His disciples, and today it remains of important: “Who do men say that I am?”
The Jews would say that He broke the law of Moses , was not the real Messiah but a self-styled Messiah, and deserved to die because He made himself God. Some would agree with Pilate and just say they do not know who he is. Moslems would say He is just another prophet. Unitarians would say that He is just a man and not God. The Papacy would say the He is not the Head of the Church on earth – the Pope of Rome is. More and more Protestant sects, deny his divinity, among them Unitarians, Universalists and others,
as do the as Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. There are many opinions. But those who do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, place themselves in agreement with Judas Iscariot, Caiaphas the high priest, the scribes, the Pharisees, Pontius Pilate and the Jews that would cry out Away with Him! Crucify Him!.
Concerning Peter’s statement, “You are the Christ, son of the Living God!” Christ told them that it was revealed to Him by God the Father. If we believe as the Father told Peter, we will listen to and obey Christ as our teacher and Savior, and our Lord and God. For the Father spoke from heaven saying: "This is my beloved Son in whom I have well-decided, listen to Him." We will love Christ with all our minds and hearts, with all our strength and souls. We must learn to love all that Christ loves, His Cross, His Resurrection, His Holy Mother, the Forerunner, all His Apostles and all friends. We must also hate all that Christ hates with perfect hatred.
In our days, faith in Jesus Christ has waned because matter made by Him, and fashioned into devices by man attracts our attention and is more interesting more than Him. Even among the Orthodox you can hear various opinions about Christ, the Church and salvation, which are not true. Because we are the Church Christ founded, we believe, with Peter, that Christ is the Son of the Living God, true God from true God, who descended and taught us what we must believe. We must preserve the truth about Christ, for it is of utmost importance, for it has been permanently decided by many Fathers, including those of the Seven Ecumenical Synods of Orthodoxy.
We who are baptized, by triune immersion in the name of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are in agreement with the Apostles and Fathers of the whole Church. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, our Savior and Redeemer who has delivered us from death and eternal perdition. Out of His great love for us, He went to the Cross and surrendered His life, to grant us eternal life, victory and the great mercy!
Every word that the Son of God spoke is vitally important, for His mouth is the mouth of God who is speaking and teaching us. If we do not study and put into practice all that Jesus Christ teaches us, we will lose even what little faith we seem to have, for He says: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” By keeping His commandments, our faith will increase, our hopes will increase fervently, and our zeal will become boundless.
Peter, who confessed Jesus as the Christ, Son of God, says: “Gird up the loins of your minds, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Christ, as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former desires in your ignorance, but as He who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of behavior, because it is written: ‘Be holy for I am holy.’”
Without holiness, how can we expect to appear before the holy throne of God, for nothing unclean can commune with the divine. What kind of apology can we offer before the dread judgment seat of Christ? It is in this present life that we must wash and be cleansed through repentance, pray with fear and love, change our lives from the fashion of this sinful world, and “dedicate ourselves and one another and all our lives to Christ our God.” This prayer is in every Divine Liturgy as is also the call of the Priest: “The holies to the holy” The undefiled Body and Blood are given to us as food to eat and drink and the ability to do spiritual work, That work is important and consists in reading, studying, learning and keeping all of Christ’s commandments . “St. Paul says: “Whoever does not work shall not eat” This does concern only physical work but it also concerns spiritual work. If we desire to eat and drink the holy Mysteries, we must work or not partake. For if we do not work on our souls spiritually and correct our lives, we have no permission to approach the Holy Things, for the holy things are for the holy!
If we do not eradicate evil from our lives, pride, anger, envy, love of this world, lying, stealing, hedonism, indecency, misbehavior, and every other harmful and forbidden practice, we will not be struggling toward the goal of holiness. It is indeed difficult, but we must make the attempt, or we will be without excuse. But if we give only one per cent, the Lord will supply the rest! He is infinitely generous and the only Lover of man. Indeed the mercy of God is great and His love is boundless, but we must contribute our part for our own salvation, and all we need is to make a beginning.
The goal we seek to reach is extremely important – eternal life in bliss and happiness, but we must prepare here by living this type of blissful and happy life now, or we may be shut out of the kingdom. “The kingdom of God,” says the Lord, “is within you,” and we must bring it to life and bring it out from within by correcting ourselves, and our light will shine forth before men. While seeking this goal we must avoid any belief or behavior that will cast us into the pit of eternal perdition and torment. We need to prepare ourselves here for judgment there, for after death it will too late.
It is good for us each day to reflect in this manner. "Today is the day which the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!" Let us glorify the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one in essence and undivided. He is kind and merciful but also a just Judge and who shall stand before Him? Let us bow down before the Lord Jesus, honoring his Precious Cross, and His holy Mother, the Theotokos together with the Forerunner, and all the Saints and Martyrs. Let us ask their intercessions to help us work out our salvation, for if we ask we shall certainly receive.