Do You Know Who I Am?

Dear Friends,
 
There is a rather humorous story told about the 1st President Bush, #41 – George Herbert Walker Bush. He was out one day doing some public relations work by visiting a nursing home. He came upon a wise old man pushing his walker along down the hall. President Bush took the man by the hand, looked gently into his eyes and said, “Sir, I’m very pleased to meet you. Do you know who I am?” Confused, the old man looked back at the President and said, “No, I’m really not sure who you are” – then whispered, “but I bet if you asked one of the nurses, they could help you out!” 
 
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16:13-20)
 
In this familiar conversation between Jesus and his closest friends, Jesus was not asking them if they knew who he was because he did not know the answer to the question. Jesus was asking them if they knew who he was so that they could be sure of his identity – and consequently place all their hope and trust in Him as He knew it was going to become more difficult to claim Him as their Messiah — as Simon Peter did so confidently and so boldly in the following verse, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
 
At this point in Jesus’ earthly ministry, His eyes are set on Jerusalem — the place where all prophets go to die — and if his disciples are going to make that journey with him, they need to be absolutely sure and convinced of who he is. So He asked them if they knew who He was.
 
The silent screen actor from the 1930’s, Charlie Chaplin, once entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest in Monte Carlo. Imagine his surprise when he came in third place!
 
We think we know who Jesus is, based on what we’ve been taught throughout our lifetimes. But are we absolutely sure and convinced of who Jesus is based on our own commitment to study and follow and serve? Are we following an impostor, a false prophet, or a Jesus others define or describe for us? We personally get to know who Jesus is through prayer, study of Scripture, worship and service. It’s important we know for certain who Jesus is, in order to know for certain who we are — who we really are — who we were created to be. Do you know that true version of yourself, or only the false version the world has perhaps incorrectly painted of you? Like former President Bush did, we too can go around asking others if they know who we are. Others may be able to help us out with that question, but only Jesus can truly help us discover who we really are.
 
This search for knowing is something that Jesus, through His Church, can help us all with. Which is why, this Fall, for five weeks, beginning on Rally Sunday, September 8, our church will explore the question, “Who am I?” under the theme, “Claimed: Wildly Loved by God!” as we strive to discover who we are, who we were created to be, and for what purpose. The question, “Who am I?” is a question we often ask ourselves. But again, despite the many voices of social media, peers, family and influences from the world around us, there is only one voice that reveals our truest identity – the voice of Jesus that claims that we are beloved children of God. Isaiah 43:1 says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” In this verse, and throughout scripture, God constantly reminds us that we are God’s children, and that we are claimed and wildly loved by Jesus. 
 
I look forward to exploring with you our identity in Christ by studying who God says we are compared to who the world pushes us to be. And once are sure of our identity in Christ, and of Christ our Messiah, everything changes and anything is possible — in our lives and in our church.
 
I’m excited to see what the Holy Spirit unleashes among us!
 
See you in Church!
 
Pr. Dale