But What About You? Who Do You Say I Am?

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DEUTERONOMY 16:1-17:20 | LUKE 9:7-27 | PSALM 72:1-20 | PROVERBS 12:8-9

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Moses isn’t finished just yet with the recap of the instructions to the children of Israel even as they prepare to enter the “promised land”.  Today, he reminds them of the importance of celebrating the Passover, as well as several other feasts during the course of the year. 

Follow all these rules, he tells them, and you will live long and will prosper. 

Finally, he gives also instructions for the king that they might appoint for themselves in the new land.  It is noteworthy that the primary instruction for the king is not about military prowess or public administration but about holding dear to these laws by reading it “all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God…” 

Moses says: 18When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.

Turning to our reading in the gospel according to Luke, we encounter the amazing story of Jesus feeding the five thousand with five fishes and two loaves of bread.  And if that wasn’t amazing enough, the record also states that there were twelve baskets of leftovers. 

Along with his twelve disciples, Jesus conducts his ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing to the people throughout the regions.  Given the nature of his miraculous works, there is talk about who he really is– could it be that he is the long-awaited Messiah? 

Even Herod, the Roman ruler wonders if this is John the Baptist that had been beheaded at his behest, or might this be Elijah, the prophet?  There is much speculation about the true identity of Jesus’ persona, and yet it is only Simon Peter  who definitively states that Jesus is the Christ, i.e., the Messiah.  

But Jesus forbids Peter from proclaiming this because this would clearly appear to be self-serving.  Peter was Jesus’ disciple, of course, and so why wouldn’t he say that Jesus was the Messiah?  If there was to be true recognition of Jesus’ identity, it ought to come directly from the people and the leaders of the Temple.  Jesus asks, 20 “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” 

But we have seen already how the people have rejected Jesus time and again—despite every inconceivable miracle that was performed before their very eyes, they have not believed and not realized that they were already in the presence of their Messiah.  Woe is unto them all!

We turn next to the Psalm of the day, and find David’s prayer for the king of Israel.  David says:

17 May his name endure forever;
   may it continue as long as the sun.

All nations will be blessed through him,
   and they will call him blessed.
18 Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel,
   who alone does marvelous deeds.
19 Praise be to his glorious name forever;
   may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
            Amen and Amen.
20 This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.

Finally, our Proverb for the day is one to ponder upon:

8 A person is praised according to their prudence,
and one with a warped mind is despised.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

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