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But who you say that I am?

But who you say that I am?

When Christ confronted the demons, they cried out
in loud voices and with forked tongues,
“We know who you are, Holy One, Son of God,
hope of the nations and light of the world!”
And he bid them be silent. [i]

Some said he was a prophet.[ii]
Some said he had a demon.[iii]
Some said he should not go around saying
that the Son of Man must suffer,
but he had already had that conversation
with the devil in the wilderness;
he recognized the forked tongue twisting in Peter’s mouth.[iv]

“Who do you say that I am?” he asks us,[v]
and it is not enough to recognize,
to idolize,
to pay homage with forked tongue and fractured loyalties.

It is not enough
to say who he is, unless
we will become whom he has called us to become.

The rich will hunger to turn over tables,[vi]
the joyful will drown out the songs of the stones,[vii]
the hawks will hang up their talons
and eat olives offered by the dove,[viii]
the princes and powers will burn their thrones to
warm the hearts of the people.[ix]

“A broken and contrite heart you will not despise.”[x]The body bending under the weight of grief,
slung crosswise along the shoulders,
will find a lighter yoke in love.[xi]

“Who do you say that I am?” he asked them.
You are my way, my truth, my life.[xii]
If I am slow to follow, wait for me, reach back to me.
If I am hard of understanding, be patient with me.
Bind my heart to yours, that I may hear the rhythm of your passion.
Let the rest be silence.


The Revd Rosalind C Hughes is the Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Euclid, Ohio, and author of Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent questions for Christians in an age of violence (July 2021), and A Family Like Mine: biblical stories of love, loss, and longing. Read more from Rosalind at

Featured image: Interior of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Venice) – Jesus Christ bearing the Cross, Alvise Vivarini, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

[i] See Mark 1:23-26; [ii] Mark 8:27-28; [iii] Mark 3:22; [iv] Mark 8:31-33; Matthew 4:5-7; [v] Mark 8:29; [vi] See Luke 1:53; John 2:13-18; [vii] See Luke 19:37-40; [viii] See Isaiah 11:7; Genesis 8:8-11; [ix] See Luke 1:52; [x] Psalm 51:17; [xi] See Matthew 11:29-30; [xii] John 14:6


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