Who am I? This week, Jesus asks his disciples who others say he is. Our identity, sense of self, is something that is uniquely ours, yet also something that others influence and may even have opinions about. Many of us struggle as we attempt to deal with the opinions of others, or we seem to invest a lot of energy in trying to live up to the unrealistic or artificial expectations of others. We also take steps to “protect our identity” whether it is the password on our bank account or smart phone, the key code on our garage door, or the safe keeping of our wallet. Some aspects of our identity can be “stolen” but our true self is not only safe in God’s hands, it is not static either because as we learn and grow, our sense of self grows, as well. Our text this week from Mark 7:27-38 invites us into a dramatic encounter with Jesus who gives a rather shocking answer regarding his identity. His messianic identity of suffering, rejection, death, and resurrection is hard for the disciples to comprehend, and Peter tries to dissuade Jesus from his mission. Jesus’ disciples must see themselves as “followers” more than as “leaders.” What does Jesus mean when he declares that those who “follow” him must “take up their cross and follow me”?
When we feel we don’t measure up… on the inside because of how we have been treated, or because of the choices we have made, or our circumstances, remember and internalize this:
- God told us who we were. Created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26; 1 Corinthians 6:19).
- Jesus Tells us who we are. His friends, his disciples, his co-workers planting seeds of hope (John 14:12-14; John 15:15).
- The Holy Spirit tells us who we are becoming as our minds are renewed, being transformed day by day. One day we will be presented faultless before the throne of grace (Romans 12:1-2; Jude 1:24).