Connecting to the Larger Story
As Jesus went around teaching and healing, word about him spread far and wide. When people saw his power and recognized him as God's Messiah he told them to tell no one else. People knew he was special, and many began to speculate about what role he was to play in God's plan. Was he the prophet Elijah returning to make way for the day of the Lord, was he John the Baptist come back from the grave after being executed by Herod, or was he some other prophet?
Important to Note
1) When asked who he, rather than the crowds, thought Jesus was, Peter names Jesus as the Messiah. Immediately Jesus began to touch about what that meant. The Messiah is not a triumphant, glorious ruler who will drive the Romans away but rather someone who will suffer greatly for the sake of the people he loves. To follow the Messiah is not about honor or protection from harm but to be willing to lay down one's life as the suffering Messiah does.
2) Jesus's true identity is confirmed for his closest followers as he is transfigured before them and they see a vision of Moses and Elijah with him on the mountain top. Peter suggests they stay there because of how amazed he is by this moment. Instead, God confirms Jesus as the Son and they return down the mountain to life as before.
Thoughts for Reflection
1) Is it surprising that what makes the Messiah special is that he is willing to suffer for others?
2) What is it like to return to regular life after a moment of spiritual high?