21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
By: Franca Otono
In this gospel reading, Jesus Christ asked his disciples to identify who he is while they were within the region of the Gentiles. being that the passion of Christ is fast approaching, it was fundamental for the disciples to know who Jesus Christ truly is and what he represents. His disciples described him analogously or equivalent by the prophets of old who played a redemptory role in history.
Importantly, identifying who Jesus really is to today’s believer an important aspect of our walk of faith. Jesus Christ can represent many things to many people such as a savior, a liberator, a defender and so on.
Ultimately, our declaration of faith involves the acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that was the revelation that peter got by suddenly confirmation that Jesus Christ is the messiah and the son of the living God, Peters affirmation of who Jesus is also assisted the other disciples in their understanding that Jesus is the messiah-John 15:26-27
The aftermath comes the blessing and commissioning of Peter by the symbolic representation of keys, meaning that authority and dominion has been given to Peter to preach the gospel, perform his priestly and apostolic mission towards the service of the believer’s- those who are called in unity by the one purpose, to declare that Jesus is Lord.
Although peter would in-turn commit many blunders like denying Christ out of faintness of mind (Matt 26:69-75), but he was consecrated. Peter spoke of Christ identity by the revelation of the holy spirit which sets him apart from the rest. As Christ blessed Peter so are those who confess Jesus Christ as saviour blessed with the divine grace and favor of the Christ resurrected power.
Jesus established the church on this one truth “that Jesus Christ is the son of God” and souls are called to partake of the blessings of God within the church with total surrender and dependence on the grace of Christ Jesus-Luke 9:23.
Jesus was prophesying his death and resurrection with what was to occur after his resurrection. Christ brings the church together, appoint leaders to oversee the affairs of the church such as the apostles and prophets-Ephesians 4:11-13.
In preparation for the crucifixion, Christ has taught his disciples how to move the gospel forward, but they must first believe that he is the messiah in order to be an effective steward of the role assigned to them to preach the gospel -Matt 28:19-20.
For the affirmation and certainty of the divine nature of Christ is important that the disciples know who Jesus. to know who Jesus is-is to believe that Jesus is the only messiah, the son of God, redeemer and the rock of salvation.
The gates of Hades will not prevail against the church of Christ is an acknowledgement that although evil spirits, the powers of death and darkness are present on earth, and the church will defeat evil powers and demons causing pains and sorrows particularly in the life of the righteous. just as Christ revealed to John in the book of revelation that he overcame death, saying
Rev 1:18- 18 I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, amen; and have the keys of hell and of death, so, has he given believers who are part of the church the authority to conquer the powers of darkness.
Hades can be compared with the unpleasant experiences of people in this life, those things that opposes the divine will of God on earth and the evil that causes calamity in the lives of people. Those who are trapped by sickness, failure, hardship and unfavorable circumstances will be redeemed by the church-1 Peter 5:8. The wall of Hades will break to bring about freedom, peace and joy to those who are trapped. Jesus is calling the church to a role to deliver the oppressed and to set the captives free.
Thus, Christ is the foundation of the church, the one who touches the souls of those called into salvation. Jesus was speaking prophetically of the gathering of believers who share a common knowledge of the word of God- those who will gather together in his name.
The affirmation of who Jesus truly is involves a life of commitment and acceptance of the word of God (Christ Jesus)-John 1:14