Who am I?

Homily 270 – 6th Sunday after Pentecost
Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, Ames, Iowa
July 16, 2017

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God.

So which is easier? To say “Your sins have been forgiven” or “Get up, and walk”?

We may at first think that these things are separate and distinct from one another. That is not the case.

The ability to forgive sins, and the ability to heal physically, are both vested in God and God alone. It is the Divine Nature that offers both.

This was the issue that was so offensive to the Jews – that God could be more than one person, and that Jesus the Carpenter’s son from Nazareth would claim that he was truly God – able to do these things.

The Jews were looking for a Messiah – a deliverer. But they were short sighted. Their Messiah was a political ruler – a king, like King David – and a prophet, like Elijah.

But that Messiah would not be God Himself. That was the blasphemy the Jews saw in Jesus Christ.

Short sighted.

They were, at that point in time, looking for a Messiah that would deliver them from the Romans, not deliver them from the Evil One.

They didn’t even know they were bound by the Evil One.

Christ offered healing not just to demonstrate his power, but only to demonstrate that He could forgive – that He is God.

Demonstrating, that humanity might know. With certainty.

Knowing the only true God and Him whom that God sent, Jesus Christ. Not compliance with a set of Good and Holy Directives and Commandments.

Knowing that Jesus Christ is God. Knowing – a knowing from the depths of the soul.

That knowledge is Eternal Life.

Everything else – everything – is sent by God to support that knowledge.

Be it illness or health, poverty or wealth, imprisonment or freedom. Everything is sent by God to support that knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

And yet – even after the healing, they didn’t get it. Even after one was raised from the dead they didn’t get it.

Even after He Himself was raised from the dead, many didn’t – and don’t – get it.

The man, we are told, got up and departed to his house, as he was commanded.

And the crowds glorified God – and pay attention to this – who had given such authority to men.

They still didn’t get it.

It forces a question. The same question Christ asked of His Disciples and Apostles.

Who do you say that I am?

Simon Peter got it. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Christ asks us that question, also. Individually, and collectively.

Who do you say that I am?

And our answer is important. We sometimes get caught quoting St. Peter – You are the Christ.

But is that true? We say it – but do we believe it?

Because if Christ is the Messiah – if Christ is the Son of God, then our behavior rarely reflects it.

In our society we sometimes see Christ as a friend, a buddy. And indeed He is those things.

But he is also our Creator. He is our God – our Supreme Being. To Christ, we can be called, and are called, friends.

But to us. To us Christ is always Lord. The one who holds our lives – our very beings – in His hands and His control.

A King can consider us a friend. But we can never think of a King as a friend. Always a ruler – and we are always the King’s subject.

As we continue through this day, and this week, think about that – honestly and openly with yourself.

Don’t lie to yourself. I challenge you consider who Jesus is to you. And to consider your behavior and see if it lines up.

The Truth is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and we are His Subjects.

The Truth is that He loves us, and died to deliver us from death.

Do we spend our life saying, “No big deal – thanks, Jesus.”

Or do we spend the rest of our life – every moment of it – expending all our energy and effort to show Him our love, and our gratitude –

Through our obedience and following His commands of us?

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God.