Between Sundays Logo

Between Sundays for Week of August 28, 2023

By the 16th chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus has called the disciples to follow him. He’s preached that never-ending Sermon on the Mount. He’s told parables – so many parables! He’s healed the sick and cast out demons. He’s performed miracles – feeding thousands and walking on water. He’s been rejected by his hometown. He’s made enough waves that everyone knows he’s somebody. And now, he wants to know, “Who do you say that I am?”

Pastor Hoffman reflects on Peter’s perfect Sunday-School response: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Peter gets the right answer, not because he knows about Jesus, but because he has followed Jesus and is getting to know who Jesus is for himself. Likewise, Jesus invites us not to comment on who we think He is but to confess who we’ve come to know Him to be. In her reflection on this passage, Debie Thomas wonders, “Is Jesus merely “the” Messiah?  Or is he yours?”

This week, consider your response: Who do you say that Jesus is? What are the contours of your story with Jesus? Where have you encountered his love? How have you received his forgiveness? When has he brought healing to your life?

My hope and prayer is that we too share Peter’s confession, “Jesus is the Messiah, the son of the living God” not because it’s the so-called right answer but because we too experience Jesus’ saving power, because we too experience that God is alive and well in our lives and in the world.

P.S. How are your marigolds doing?

The Word Logo

“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asks his disciples. Simon Peter boldly responds, “You are the Messiah, Son of the living God.” This is not merely a comment about Jesus but a confession rooted in his own experience of Jesus. Peter’s confession serves as the foundation for the whole church. Together, by the grace of God and through the witness of one another, we come to know Jesus as our Messiah.


Peter, who before was called Simon, receives from the Lord the name of Peter, because of the strength and constancy of his faith; for with a firm and tenacious soul he clung to him of whom it was written, “And the rock was Christ.” And this rock, that is, the Lord Savior, who gave to him who knew him, loved him, and confessed him, the privilege of sharing his name, said that he would be called Peter, from Petra (the rock), upon which the church is built. For only through the faith and the love of Christ, through receiving the sacraments of Christ, through keeping the commandments of Christ, can we come to share in the lot of the elect and to eternal life.

[Bede, in The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, III, 273.]