Who is Jesus? As Christians this is the most important question we can ask ourselves. Peter gives us the answer “The Christ of God!” In Greek, Christ signifies the Messiah or “the anointed one” – for the Jews someone was anointed to signify they were chosen by God for a special task. In the old testament, Priests, Prophets and Kings were anointed. The job of a priest was to mediate God’s reconciliation. The job of a prophet was to reveal who God is and his plan for us. The Job of a King was to bring unity and peace. The Jews were waiting for the Messiah– a special prophet, priest and king sent by God to lead them to God. Jesus is the Messiah – he is our priest, prophet and king!
Jesus is the Messiah. Peter was right – but Peter did not understand how Jesus would carry out this task from God. Jesus explains that “The son of Man will suffer much, he will be handed over to death and rise on the third day.” The apostles were very confused. The great prophet Elias was not handed over to death – he put to death the false prophets of Baal. The great priests of the Old Testament shed the blood of goats and bulls, but never their own blood. The great King David created peace by killing his enemies. The apostles could not understand a Messiah who suffered.
But Jesus carries out the work of the Messiah through the Cross.
Jesus is the perfect prophet. Jesus reveals to us who is God because he is not just a messenger of God, but God himself! He reveals God most perfectly in his passion. He shows us that God is not far away indifferent to our sufferings – God is close. He loves us so much that he wished to live among us to share in our sufferings. The cross reveals the compassion, patience and generosity of God. God gives us everything, without hold anything back, not even his beloved son.
Jesus is the perfect priest. The sacrifices of the Old testament were unable to reconcile us with God because they were always tainted by sin and selfishness. God does not want the blood of sheep, he wants a heart that is humble and obedient. Jesus was the perfect priest and victim – selfless and inmaculate. Jesus gave himself with humility and perfect obedience to his Father. He sacrifice was able to reconcile us with God, to bring us the forgiveness of God.
Jesus is the perfect King. The kings of the Old testament produced peace by means of war – they killed their enemies and eliminated all threats to the people. But this peace could not last very long – the people always returned to war. Jesus gives us peace through his passion. He obeyed his Father until death, he accepted injustice with patience, he forgave his enemies. He teaches us the path to peace – obedience, patience, forgiveness and love.
Jesus is the Mesiah of God. He is our prophet, our priest, our king. He shows us the face of God, he reconciles us to God our Father, he unites us in peace as one family. He carries out the redemption of the world through his Cross. If we want to follow him, we too must walk the way of the cross. This path is the path to God, the path to peace.