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Who Do You Say i Am (English)

Who Do You Say i Am (English)

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Published by gregnas

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Published by: gregnas on Jun 13, 2011
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06/13/2011

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WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?
 JESUS’ IDENTITY AND MESSIANIC SECRET
INTRODUCTION
Who is Jesus for me, today?
This is the question we all should askourselves before we begin our lesson. Our answers, for sure, will not besame (reflect for 5 minutes). I hope at the end of our class we have abetter image of Jesus in our minds and hearts.Now, we are going to find out the true identity of Jesus for Mark and forthe Christian community of Rome. Mark himself, at the beginning of the gospel, tells us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (1:1).However, we will not know the true meaning of that expression untilthe end of the gospel. Therefore, if we want to discover who Jesusreally is, we must begin a journey with him, follow him step by step,and at the end of this journey we will have the proper answer.
1. WHAT IS “NEW” ABOUT JESUS’ ACTIVITY?
 There is no doubt that Jesus’ public activity attracted the attention of all the sectors of Israel’s society. But,
what was “new or original” about it?
a.
 Jesus performs miracles
: Mark included 17 miracles in hisgospel: 12 miracles happened in Jewish territory (11 in Galileeand 1 in Judah) and 5 in gentile territory.-Healings: 1:29-31; 1:40-45; 2:1-12; 3:1-6; 5:25-34; 7:31-37; 8:22-26; 10:46-52.-Exorcisms: 1:21-28; Mk 5:1-20; 7:24-30; 9:14-29.-Resurrections: 5:21-43.-Nature: 4:35-41; 6:30-44; 6:45-52; 8:1-9. 
 b.
 Jesus teaches something “new” with authority
(1:27):He teaches something they have never heard before;something that he could not learn on books, but revealed byGod to him: The mystery of the Kingdom of God (Mk 4).
c.
 Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them
(2:15-17):these people were considered impure or unclean because of their bad life style and therefore excluded from their society.No second chance for them. Jesus mixes with them, listens tothem, and offers them another chance to transform their lifestyle.
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d.
 Jesus forgives sins
(2:1-12): Jesus brings God’s forgivenessto people in need. The religious authorities believed insteadthat only God could forgive sins, consequently Jesus isblaspheming for putting himself at the same level of God.
e.
 Jesus chose 12 apostles among his many disciples
: InIsrael normally the disciples chose their teachers, but in thecase of Jesus, he is the one electing his closest companionsand collaborators in his mission. They will not study the Law(Torah) and their traditions, but they will learn from theteachings of Jesus and put them into practice in their dailylives.
f.
 Jesus and his disciples do not fast
(2:18-22): All therespected groups (Essenes, Pharisees…) and individual holymen (John the Baptist) used to fast often and live an asceticlife in order to show everyone that they were closelyconnected to God. Instead, Jesus and his disciples eat, drink,and enjoy a nice and comfortable life… he does not fit theprofile of a holy man or messenger from God.
g.
 Jesus and his disciples do not keep holy the Sabbathday
: He does many activities that are forbidden by the law onthat day: healing the sick and plucking grain. Jesus redefinesthe meaning of the Sabbath day: “
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The Son of Man is even lord of the Sabbath
” (2:27-28).
h.
 Jesus cleanses the Temple of merchants
, sellers, andmoney changers, and says,
My house should be called ahouse of prayer for all peoples, but you have made it abandit’s den
(11:15-19). Jesus does not like mixing businesswith true religion.
2. WHAT QUESTIONS DID JESUS’ ACTIVITY PROVOKEAMONG THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL?
a.
What is this? Here is a teaching that is new, and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him
(1:27): Reaction of the crowds after seeing theexorcism of man in the synagogue.
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b.
How can this man talk like that? He is being blasphemous.Who but God can forgive sins?
(2:7): Reaction of the scribesafter Jesus told the paralytic that his sins were forgiven.c.
Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him
(4:41):Reaction of the disciples after Jesus calmed the storm at theSea of Galilee.d.
Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that hasbeen granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary,the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? Hissisters, too, are they not here with us? And they would not accept him
(6:2-3): Reaction of the people from Nazareth afterlistening to Jesusteachings in the synagogue andremembering all the miracles he had done elsewhere.In the second part of the gospel we find other questions about Jesus’identity and these are the most important ones:
a.
 Jesus asks his disciples a question:
Who do people say I am?
After showing Jesus people’s opinion about his identity, heasked them another question:
Who do you say I am?
Peter, asthe spokesman of the disciples, gave Jesus a straight answer(see 8:27-30).
 b.
During Jesus trial, the High Priest (chief of the Sanhedrin)asked Jesus about his identity as a perfect proof to condemnand put him to death:
 Are you the Christ, the Son of theBlessed One?
Jesus said, “
I am
” (14:61-62). It is only in thispassage where Jesus recognizes to be the Messiah (Christ), theSon of God. And this is why he was crucified.In order to understand the identity of Jesus, Mark places a number of questions that require some answers from the characters of thegospel. The purpose of these questions is to show how amazing Jesus’words and actions are and, at the same time, provoke a quick answerregarding his identity. Let’s see what the characters of the gospel haveto say about Jesus’ identity.
3. WHAT DO THE MAIN CHARACTERS OF THE GOSPELSAY ABOUT JESUS’ IDENTITY?
 The gospel of Mark is filled with answers about Jesus’ identity. Some of the answers are explicit (like Peter’s); some others are only seen
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