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What does it mean to be the Messiah?

Lk. 9:43-45

What does it mean to be the Messiah?

There were a lot of expectations set around the person of Jesus Christ. People had imagined for centuries what it would mean that the Messiah could finally arrive. The pressing problem in their lifetime was the Roman occupation of their Promised Land. Naturally, they expected the Messiah to save them from the evil that they experienced daily.

But Jesus would bring a different type of salvation. He would focus on sin. We can fall into the same trap as the Jews in the time of Jesus. We can think of salvation as saving the planet or ending discrimination or accomplishing world peace. While Jesus may be concerned with each one of these topics, ultimately his greatest interest is to save us from sin. This is why he lived the way he lived. It is why he died the way he died.

The shocking thing about today’s Gospel is how Jesus proclaims nonchalantly how his life is going to end. He says that “the Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” For us, to think about our own demise or death is a sobering topic. Jesus deals with it as anything else, with peace and confidence in His Heavenly Father. For those listening to him, the statement goes much deeper. It shakes them to the core. They say that they do not understand. Perhaps they understand all too well and this is what frightens them.

If being the Messiah was so different from what they expected, following him must be different too. One of our greatest titles is that we are “Christians,” which means not only that we follow Jesus Christ, but especially that we try to be like him. The causes we espouse during this life do not define us; following Jesus Christ with our whole mind, heart, and soul does. Today, live for Christ!

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