Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Scriptures of the Triodion
Fifth Saturday of Lent
And Jesus went on with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” And they told Him, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; and others one of the prophets.” And He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered Him, “You are the Christ.” Mark 8: 27-29 (From the Gospel on the Fifth Saturday of Lent)
Good morning Prayer Team!
In the Gospel reading for today, the fifth Saturday of Lent, Jesus asks His disciples a profound question, “Who do men say that I am?” These disciples had followed Jesus for three years. They were His friends. He was their friend. They witnessed His miracles. They heard His teachings. And yet, at this profound question, they used the confused answers of other people in the answer to His question. Jesus then put the question directly to them disciples, “Who do YOU say that I am?” And it was Peter who answered “You are the Christ.”
If someone asked you, “Who is Jesus,” what would you say? Some people, I’m sure, would say “He is my Savior.” If that is your answer, then how would you answer this question, “And from what do you need saving?” If your answer is “I need to be saved from my sins,” the next natural question is, “what are YOU doing about these sins? Are you still wantonly sinning?” It’s hard to call Jesus a “Savior” if we are not cognizant of our need to be saved from sin.
If the answer is “He is my Lord,” then the next question would be, “If He is Lord, does He have control of your life?” or “Do you let Him lead your life?” For many of us, the answer to that question is no. We don’t let Him lead our entire life. Maybe we let Him lead a portion of life, but not the whole thing. It’s hard to call Jesus “Lord” if we don’t let Him have the controls of our life.
If the answer is “He is my master,” then the next question would be “How much of your life do you spend serving HIM?” If the answer is, “I don’t think about that very much,” then it is hard to call Jesus “master” if we don’t focus our energy on serving Him.
In answering this question for myself, the most honest answer I can give TODAY is that Jesus Christ is my hope. Despite my sinfulness, He is willing to forgive when I repent. This gives me hope. Despite my lack of faith and trust, He never rejects me even when I reject Him. This gives me hope. Despite my ego that puts me at the center of things, rather than Him, He embraces me every time I put Him at the center and doesn’t abandon me when I put myself ahead of Him. This gives me hope. I don’t know necessarily where life is leading, or even how I find myself in the place I am in, but I believe that His hand is on my life. This gives me hope. I know that I am not perfect and I will never be perfect, but I believe that if I give the best effort I can give, that He will be gracious and merciful. This give me hope.
Who is Christ? To me, the answer is “my hope.” How do you answer this question? Why is this question so important? Because it sets up where Christ fits in your life, or rather, where you fit in His.
Wishing to grant remission of ancient obligations, He who cancels the debts of all people came Himself as a stranger and dwelt among those who were from His divine grace estranged; and tearing up the bond of sin, He hears from everyone, Alleluia.
Who do you say that Christ is?
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Photo Credit: Walter Bright
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