When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Who do people today say that Jesus is? A religious figure. A prophet. An inspirational figure. A good person. A misunderstood person. A name they’ve heard.
Who do you say that he is?
Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus confirms this confession, and believers have been making it again and again for 2,000 years. Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Living God. Do you confess Him as the Christ?
Since Jesus is the Christ, and since He is God in the flesh, Christians follow Him. He is not merely a good or wise person. He is God our creator, who came to us and lived among us as one of us. He speaks the truth.
Part of this truth is the value of every human life. We know with the confidence of faith that we are supposed to be advocating for and protecting life, from conception to natural death. Not only does our Holy Scripture teach this, but so has the undivided church and the orthodox churches throughout history. We also know that our Lord himself blessed life, and that He taught us to see each person as beloved by God. Like Peter, we will continue to profess what our Lord taught us.
And yet, as pro-life Christians, we’re going to get some things wrong. We can’t claim that our particular strategies or priorities are directly given to us by God and are always right. We can’t say that we haven’t missed the mark in some places or let people down in others. We can’t say that we have no blind spots.
Peter, for sure, had lots of foibles and follies. He made mistakes, and he got sidetracked a few times. Yet he kept confessing that Jesus is the Christ. He kept following Jesus and he kept proclaiming the Good News.
A few paragraphs after the Confession of Peter, we find him rebuking Jesus. He is trying to stop Jesus from going to the cross! From our perspective that makes sense. Why would the Messiah allow himself to be crucified? But Peter was mistaken. Jesus had come to die and rise again. So Jesus rebukes Peter.
And guess what? Peter kept following Jesus. He repented. He accepted that he had made a mistake. He would do that again and again in his life and ministry.
So will you and I. We aren’t perfect. Our service and our advocacy won’t always be perfect. We’ll waste time, or we’ll get confused, or we’ll set poor priorities. But, like Peter, we keep confessing Christ and advocating for life. We don’t have to be perfect to be a witness. Just look at Peter!
This month’s reflections are written by an anonymous Anglican.