What is our
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
Jesus asks a pretty tough question today. “Who do people say I am?” It is a very human question. I am pretty sure I have wondered and asked the same question. Perhaps many of you as well. What do people think of me? How do people perceive me?
The answer to Jesus’ question lies in how we respond to His presence. Do we fully live and proclaim His presence or do we just recognize it?
Some social scientists tell us that people assume different personalities, or different ‘presences,’ based on who they are with or where they are. Their theory is that we care so much about what others think that we change who we are to meet their perceptions. We are one way at work, another with friends or family, another at church, another when we are alone, maybe even another way when we are dreaming. We put on different ‘suits’ to fit the party we are attending.
What do we put on for Jesus’ party? What suit do we put on when we go to church? This isn’t a sermon about how we dress. Frankly, that does not matter. So, we will stay away from clothing. But we will focus on presence.
Presence is a funny word. Webster’s would say that presence is the fact or condition of being in a place or time. It can also mean the way we carry ourselves.
Being in church or at church is about being in a place and at a time. The way we carry ourselves, our outward behaviors at church, is also about presence. We easily meet Webster’s definition of presence. So, we are here.
Is being present, is the ‘suit’ we are wearing today, enough of an answer to Jesus’ question? It is an answer, but is only the beginning of an answer.
Peter took a huge risk blurting out his understanding of Jesus’ identity as God among us. He moved from just living in Jesus’ presence to being fully in and of Jesus. Full on committed.
Like Peter, we need to move from just wearing an outward suit, from a following along, from just being a consumer of God’s presence, to full on, fully involved faith.
There is big risk in taking off our suit (thankfully I’m not talking about clothes). We are not protected anymore. We cannot just walk away after church. We have to live in the presence of Christ in an ongoing and involved way. We must become people in and of Jesus, making Him present by our genuine presence every day – keeping Him real. We must be willing to show and tell the world – this is Jesus – God here.