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Rosemary Dawson continues her Easter series: Cross questions

The people we live or work with are the ones who know us best

HOW good are you at judging some­body’s character? What criteria do you use to decide what kind of person they are? Some people believe that first impressions are never wrong; others are more cautious.

Getting to know someone well takes time. The people we live or work with are the ones who know us best. They see us on our good days and our not-so-good days.

Jesus was well aware that he was the talk of every town and village that he and his disciples visited. Large crowds listened to his teachings about God and watched his healing miracles, which trans­formed the lives of many desperate and needy people.

One day Jesus asked his disciples who exactly people thought he was.

They replied: ‘Well, some say John the Baptist … Some say Elijah, others Jeremiah or one of the prophets’ (Matthew 16:14 J. B. Phillips).

John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, had met an untimely death at the hands of King Herod. Jeremiah and Elijah were important and influential prophets – God’s messengers – in the history of the Jewish people.

Jeremiah’s most important message revealed God’s plan for a new covenant with Israel – one that went further than the covenant made with Moses on Mount Sinai – in which people’s very nature would be changed by God’s mercy and grace (see Jeremiah 31:31–34).

Elijah had been an outspoken figure, even criticising the King and his wife for arranging the death of a man so that they could take ownership of his vineyard (see 1 Kings 21).

Then Jesus put the ball in the disciples’ court. ‘But what about you? … Who do you say that I am?’ (Matthew 16:15).

Simon Peter answered ‘You? You are Christ, the Son of the living God!’ (Matthew 16:16).

Unlike the crowds, the disciples had been with Jesus throughout his three years’ ministry. They knew him for what he was. Not just a teacher. Not just a healer. But the Son of God.

What about us? Who do we think Jesus is?

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