Weekend Thought by John Milbank

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It happened again. There I was chatting away to someone in town who had stopped me with the words: “Hello John, how are you?”

Throughout the conversation, my brain was scanning my rather messy mental filing system desperately trying to suss out who the heck I was speaking to, searching for clues so I could actually have a meaningful and sincere discourse.

I left still puzzled and embarrassed. I wonder if he noticed? Who was he? He knew me, I once knew him.

It reminded me of a conversation Jesus had with his disciples.

“Who do people say I am?” he asked. They told him. But who do you say I am, he asked again.

At least Peter had some idea. Jesus was testing their sincerity.

The disciples had been with Jesus through thick and thin, but still didn’t really know him or why he behaved the way he did. Only Peter answered the question.

I wonder if the others were embarrassed as I was after my encounter. Later, after the crucifixion, their eyes would be opened and all revealed.

Their absence was due to a lack of spiritual insight, mine due to lack of memory, somewhat different I admit.

Jesus knew his disciples very well, my friend knew me to some extent. If Jesus were to ask me the same question (who do you say I am?) would I be able to answer sincerely and confidently, I wonder?

Peter’s answer was a revelation and is as accurate now as it was then: “You are the messiah (anointed one), the son of the living God.” Dear reader, is that what you believe?

Now, who on Earth was that chap – was it Colin, or maybe Bob from my NHS days? I don’t know, maybe it will come to me later. Hmmm.