Jesus, while concerned with what the world was saying about him, cared more about the understanding of those who followed him. He knew that this rag tag group of fishermen, tax collectors, physicians, and sundry taggers on would be his representatives, his body, in the days to come, and it was important that they begin to get it.
So far, they hadn't gotten it.
While the world thinks the Son of Man might be Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah or somebody else, it is becoming increasingly important that the disciples know who Jesus really is. Jesus, as Peter declares, is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.
I kind of got on the Church yesterday, accusing them of not being able to articulate who they thought Jesus was. The world does a pretty good job of telling us who they think he was, or at least they're good at telling us what they think of his followers. We're crazy, homophobic, anti-intellectual Bible thumpers. And, we've done nothing to agrue to the contrary but act like crazy, infighting, litmus testing, morons (I'm looking at you on the left and the right).
I think we haven't been able to respond eloquently or wisely because we really don't have an answer we believe in when we're asked, "Who do YOU say Jesus is?" All of our definitions are negative - he's not, we're not, they're not, you're not. But who IS he?
Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
Jesus is the perfect example of God's will for the world.
Jesus is the One who turned the world right side up.
Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
If we begin to turn our answers around, to become less defensive, less angry, less... well... crazy, then I'm confident we can begin to turn around the perception of Jesus (and by extension his followers).
So, dear friends, Who do you say Jesus is?