(Reflections on Mathhew 16:15)

JESUS, in today's gospel, asked his disciples, "Who do the people say that I am?" The responses were varied. They told him, "Some say you are John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." At that point, Jesus asked another question, this time personally directed to them, "And you," he said, "who do you say that I am?" To which Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God."

Today, Jesus might be asking us the same question, "And you, who do you say that I am?"

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Is Jesus our Savior? Do we accept the one, complete and perfect sacrifice he has made at the cross of Calvary as the only way to wash away our sins or do we resort to some other ways to repay our debts and iniquities?

Is Jesus our Healer? Do we believe that all healing - natural and supernatural - come from him or do we presume that because our bodies are physical, their healing from various diseases can come only from the operation of physical and natural laws?

Is Jesus our Provider? Do we acknowledge him as the source of everything we have, including our very lives, or do we attribute our possessions to our own hard work, perseverance or luck?

Finally, is Jesus our God? Do we worship him with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our strength or do we take one or some of his creatures and worship them as idols?

The Bible provides clear answers to these questions. Jesus is the Savior. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)." "Salvation is to be found through him alone; in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us (Acts 4:12)."

Jesus is the Healer. Medical doctors treat patients but the expert knowledge and skills they possess, with all the wonder and sophistication, come from the greatest physician of all who is no other than Jesus Christ himself. "I am the Lord, the one who heals you," says God in Exodus 15:26. He can, in fact, heal anyone of any disease as he wishes, whether by supernatural means, natural means, or both. All forms of healing come from him, for "by his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5)."

Jesus is the Great Provider. The God who owns everything said, "I have come that you may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10)." In the 6th chapter of Matthew, Jesus said, "Do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, o about clothes for your body. Look at the birds; they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest, and put in barns, yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren't you worth much more than birds? And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow; they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. It is God who clothes the wild grass - the grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won't he be all the more sure to clothe you?" And here is the secret of receiving everything that we need, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33)."

Finally, Jesus is God. He is the second person of the Holy Trinity - one true God with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is God Incarnate - the God who became man in everything except sin so he can reconcile the human race to himself. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us (Jon 1:1, 14).

Yes, Jesus is our Savior, Healer, Provider and God. Personally, he is also my brother, best friend, confidante and boss. He is the author, center and perfector of my life - my alpha and my omega. He is all and is in all.

"And you, who do you say that I am?" Jesus is asking. What is your answer?