Jesus then asked His disciple the most radical question in the Gospels: “Who do people say I am—no, who do you say I am?” Everything in Christianity, everything in our lives, in fact, depends on the answer we give to that question. And Peter answers in the name of all: You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus does not ask this question until His disciples have been with Him a considerable amount of time. And the reason is simple. Jesus was about to reveal to the Twelve His Way of saving the world, and it was so different, so totally different from what they were expecting that they had to be prepared beforehand to accept with unconditional faith what He was going to say. Before Jesus could tell them what kind of Messiah He was going to be, they had to accept Him absolutely, unconditionally and irrevocable as the Savior God had sent.
We can see Jesus looking around at His disciples after Peter made his famous answer, looking intently into the eyes of each one, probing his heart: “Do you all agree? Am I the Messiah you have been waiting for? Is that your final answer?”
They all agree. They are decided. He is it.
“All right,” Jesus says, “Now I will tell you how I am going to save the world.”
“My plan, my Father’s plan,” Jesus says, “is this: I am going to save the world by enduring evil with love. I am going to go up to Jerusalem and there they are going to crucify me. But I am going to endure it and love back. And anyone who wants to be associated with me as Messiah has to do the same thing. You have to ‘carry your cross’—that is, accept whatever happens to you, whatever falls on your shoulders as a result of the sin and ignorance and blindness of this world—and love back.”
“And that is how we are going to save the world.”
David Knight was born in Dallas, Texas, ordained a Jesuit priest in Lyon, France, and spent three years as a bush pastor in Chad (Africa). He then earned his doctorate in theology at Catholic University, Washington, D.C., and after serving as acting rector of the Jesuit novitiate in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, was made pastor of two parishes there — one black, one white — with the mission of integrating them. He was then made spiritual director for the Jesuit community of Loyola University in New Orleans. In 1973 he went to Memphis to help found a religious order of nuns, which did not succeed. But while he was engaged in this, a new provincial suggested he join the diocese of Memphis, into which he was incardinated in 1980 and where he was pastor of Sacred Heart Parish for nearly thirty years.
Fr. Knight has taught at Catholic University (Washington, D.C.), at Loyola University in New Orleans, Christian Brothers University in Memphis, lectured and directed retreats throughout the world. He is the author of fifty books on Christian Spirituality.