Who do you say I am?

"Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say that I am?"  They said in reply, "John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, 'One of the ancient prophets has arisen.'" Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter said in reply, "The Messiah of God." He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone. "
Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 9:18-24.

This is the question Jesus wants to have the disciples wrestle with: "Who do you say I am?" Now that they have been with Him all this time, seen and heard so much, who did they think that He was?  For some reason, their automatic response is to compare Him to someone else like John the Baptism, Elijah, Moses. Conventional wisdom suggests if you want to be happy you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people. However this isn’t always realistic. We seem to want to always compare. The social comparison theory initially proposed by social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954 centred on the belief that there is a drive within individuals to gain accurate self-evaluations. The theory explains how individuals evaluate their own opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to others in order to reduce uncertainty in these domains, and learn how to define the self.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well. Jesus wants us to ask ourselves the same question: Who is He for us? If we call Him our Saviour...why? What has he saved us from? If we call Him our Rock, how do I base my complete trust in Him. By being able to name what we experience and believe as Christians reminds us of who we are. You cannot see your true, essential self through the eyes of your ego-wounded self if your wounded self decided long ago that who you are isn't good enough, so your essence might be buried beneath the false beliefs of your wounded self. Christ loves us as we are and precisely because of this, He does not want to leave us as we are. He calls us to wholeness and integrity of life as children of the Father. But first, we must be willing to let Him into our lives, even with all its brokenness.

C.S. Lewis observed in his book 'Mere Christianity' wrote, "You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

Our Founder Blessed James Alberione had a lovely prayer which we usually pray when we start our time of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament each day which reminded us exactly of who we are and who Jesus is.

Before Jesus we are “the creature meeting the Creator,
the disciple before the Divine Master,
the patient with the Doctors of souls,
the poor one appealing to the Rich One,
the thirsty one drinking at the Font,
the weak one presenting himself/herself to the Almighty,
the tempted seeking a secure Refuge,
the blind one searching for the Light,
the friend who goes to the True Friend,
the lost sheep sought by the divine Shepherd,
the heart led astray who finds the Way,
the foolish one who finds Wisdom,
the bride who finds the Spouse of the soul,
the nothing who finds the All,
the afflicted who finds the Consoler,
the youth who finds life’s meaning”
Solidifying our understanding of who Christ is, cannot but have ripple effects in our lives and our sense of identity. We come to realise that we are loved by God, not because of what we've done, but because of who we are. The Bible tells us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Holley Gerth over at the blog, Heart to Heart with Holley, gifts us with the following reflection which reminds us how precious we are in God's eyes and hopefully in the eyes of many of our brothers and sisters:
"There has never been and will never be another you. That means the bravest thing you can do is to be who you already are. Because it's safer to be like someone else. It's easier to hide. It's simpler to say, "I'm not good enough" and walk away. But we need you, friend.
We need your gifts.
We need your strengths.
We need your smile.
When you are who you're created to be, you become a mirror of the heart of the One who made you. The enemy of your soul will try to tell you to change who you are because he would love to interfere with that reflection. Say no, my friend.
No to comparing.
No to competing.
No to copying.
Instead open your heart, spread out your wings, lift up your head and live with divine confidence. You have much to offer. You are a one-of-a-kind original. No one can ever be better than you at being you. Say yes, my friend.
Yes to boldness.
Yes to beauty.
Yes to being who God made you.
Say that "yes" with all your heart for all your life. Speak it with everything you do and all that you become. Because one of the very best ways to change the world is by refusing to change who God created you to be."
So who is Jesus for you? And who do you say you are? There will always be someone smarter, stronger, more attractive, more successful, wiser, healthier, and happier than you so choose your comparisons wisely.Setting Jesus as the model to imitate in the journey of faith is the most realistic one. After all He guarantees life, life in abundance, eternal life!