Sometimes the truth about who we are isn't meant for a broad audience, but rather for those who know us most intimately...
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
If you want to keep secrets, if you want to avoid being vulnerable, if you want to skate through without being known, well then, CPE is something to be avoided altogether. I learned this my first unit, was reminded of it my second, and since then, it's been practically drilled into my skull. As scary as it can be to have a complete stranger speak your truth so plainly to you that you wonder if it wasn't somehow tattooed on your forehead sometime during the night, it's also freeing, liberating. To be known — to let yourself be known — is a gift, a blessing. But it is not always something to be shared with the entire world.
I don't always like this passage. I don't like how it gets used as an excuse for men to remain in leadership of the Church without their female counterparts accompanying them. I don't like how it can be used to simplify the reality of who Jesus is. But in truth, rarely do we see such a succinct, straight to the point example of a person's truth being spoken to them.
The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are ― C.G. Jung
Reading this story about Jesus, I have to wonder something: instead of assuming that Peter was telling Jesus something he already knew about himself, what if he was hearing something for the first time... something new, some deep seated revelation that perhaps made him think/feel, "Oh crap!!!" Perhaps his blessing of Peter was the only way he could think to respond to such a statement. Maybe it was like hearing something that contradicts all the voices in his head. Maybe Jesus had to deal with voices that told him, " You aren't good enough. You'll never amount to anything. You'll never make a difference. You aren't important."
Still, it's interesting that Jesus asks his disciples to keep their mouths shut about such a huge revelation. One would that that being tasked with saving the world might be something you'd want to share. But when I thought about it, it made sense. That's a huge burden, an intimate one... one to be entrusted to people you love and you know have your back.
What's the most important truth about you? Is there anyone else who knows it? Did you tell them, or did they see it in you and speak it in such a way that you felt known rather than found out? Is it a truth that you want known widely, or something to be kept between friends? What revelations have you had on your journey?
**If you want to follow along with the devotional lectionary I’ll be using for this series, you can find it here via Pittsburgh Theological Seminary**
photo credit: Victor Nuño (via Flickr)