Who Do You Say That I Am?
"But who do you say that I am?" Jesus asks the disciples who they thought he was. Some say "John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets." But it is only Peter who says: "You are the Christ." It is a question Jesus asks us every day: Who do you think I am? It is what we answer that will help us live our life to the fullest. From my experience as a spiritual director who has been working with moms since 1998 I have found there are many different types of Jesus.
How we see Jesus speaks to what we believe are Jesus' actions in our lives. For some Jesus seems to be more magical instead of Divine. One mom told a story of praying that He not send rain on a special day because: "If Jesus really loved me he won't!" Think about the magical Jesus, who is control: Jesus or us. If we are controlling Jesus' divine nature to do what we want, what we command, what will it be like when life gets in the way. When difficulty comes into our lives and we can not control Jesus to do what we want, and we lose heart.
Next is the revengeful Jesus. This Jesus is one that sees fault in every action we do. "If you, O LORD, kept a RECORD of sins, O LORD, who could stand?” (Psalm 130.3). This Jesus does keep a record, a very long record, and is not interested in forgiveness, there is no mercy or grace given unless it comes with extreme intolerance, nothing can be done to please this type of Jesus. Divinity cannot be expressed in a Jesus that goes against the very nature of a loving forgiving God.
There is the best friend Jesus who wants everyone to just do their own thing, everything is alright. If Jesus is our best friend afraid to guide us toward becoming better persons, does not want to hurt our feelings with rules and expectations than how can we count on this Jesus to be there when we need him?
Finally, there is Jesus the Son of God. He who died for our sins, who forgave with out price, gently compelled those forgiven to sin no more, to remove all occasions for sin, who sits at the right hand.
Why do we have such differing views of Jesus? Our spiritual-religious values are formed like any other value: from our family, life experiences, schooling. If we came from families that were punitive our view of Jesus will be punitive. For those of us who feel abandon will gravitate toward a Jesus that does not make demands on us. When control of our environment is important we will turn to a Jesus that does our bidding. Any of these Jesus' will lead to a faith crisis.
To gain a more well rounded view of Jesus it is important to look at our spiritual-religious values, how we view Jesus, the teachings of the Church and our personal experiences of the Eucharist. The church encourages us as believers to learn as much as we can, to question and ask questions, to always be seeking the answer to the question: "Who do you think I am?"