This is not the first time in Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus is acknowledged as the “Son of God”. Earlier, after Jesus rescued Peter from the waters, quieted the sea, and the wind had ceased at his command, those on board the boat recognized who Jesus really is.
However, in today’s passage there is a pivotal dramatic moment in the relationship between Jesus and his closest friends.
Jesus first asks: ‘Who do people say that I am?’ Those around Jesus reach back into the history of the Jewish people and respond: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, and other prophets.
Jesus then asks those whom he has lovingly invited into his community, patiently taught – those on whom the future of the mission depend: ‘Who do you say that I am?’
It is at this critical moment, in between the question and the answer that Jesus must wonder if all that he has shared with them has taken root.
The question Jesus puts to these first disciples, at some time in our own growing into spiritual maturity, he puts to each of us, “Who do you say I am?”
Do I, like those early disciples, reach back into my history and offer the answer provided by my parents, or caregivers; by my teachers; by a religious leader?
Or do I dare provide an answer from the depth of my own inner self.
This answer may well differ from those who first nurtured me into faith.
However, the answer will be mine, and my relationship with Jesus will be founded on my response.
To provide the answer, may I suggest we need to be still and silent, first to hear the question, and second, before responding, to hear the reply from that quiet voice, which resides deep within me!