Rector’s notes:

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Matthew 16:13-20

During the early nineteenth century there was a movement by some scholars to re-evaluate the Gospels to determine who Jesus “really” was. The conclusion by many was that Jesus was a remarkable and great man who inspired many with his teaching and example, but the divine elements were a later addition to the story. This became known as “The Quest for the Historical Jesus”. One prominent writer even produced an edition of the gospels with all the healings and miraculous events removed. Later, C. S. Lewis summed up these efforts by concluding that these writers tended to re-make Jesus in their own image, or according to their own agenda. This idea was revived a few years ago in the popular fictional work “The Da Vinci Code”, so the question is still with us.

Today’s gospel reading has Jesus asking the disciples two questions. The first concerns the various ideas then circulating about who Jesus “really” was. The second is more pointed, and is still being asked of each one of us today, ”But who do you say that I am?” Peter, perhaps speaking on behalf
of all the twelve, responded, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” The disciples still had much to learn, but this was a moment of great significance for them. They had come to this conclusion by following, listening to and participating in the ministry of Jesus over a period of time.
So it is for us today. We come to know and understand the person of Jesus by first accepting him as our Lord and Saviour, and then by learning from him, and sharing in his life and ministry in the fellowship of the church. We cannot come to this understanding by scholarship and intellectual
efforts alone (important though these may be) but by knowing him personally as friend and guide. May he be such a friend to each of us in these difficult times and may His blessing be upon us all!