Identity (Who am I…Who is Jesus?)
Pray: That God may open his Word to us by the power of His Spirit. That we may grow in our knowledge and love of Jesus. That we may share this joy in all our lives and to those around us.
Read: Mark 1:21-34
Who am I?
In today’s world, it seems like “identity” is at the center of almost every cultural conversation. People’s identifications are tied to all kinds of things: including politics, gender, sexual orientation, sports, fashion, and more. There is one common thread that runs through each expression of identity in our culture today; it is often self-derived and self-authorized.
For instance, males can change genders and decide to be identified as females, as in the case of US Olympian Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner. In our society, a man can both abandon his family and the title, “Dad” to be in another relationship if he so decides. The reason for this can be rather odd, sort of like a man who self identifies as a 6'10" NBA player, when in fact he is 5'4" and watching the game with a bag on his couch. Sure he may be offended if you were question how he self-identifies but do any of us have the authority to determine our own identity? Who has the final say?
In the Bible, God shows us the incredibly freeing truth that our identity is not self-derived at all, but given to us as a gift by our creator. Even the founding fathers of our country understood this when drafting the rights they identified for each citizen were said to be “endowed by our creator.” Perhaps one of the greatest evidences of this truth is to look at how the question of identity applies to Jesus.
Today’s passage in the Gospel of Mark centers on a rather curious story. While teaching in the synagogue, Jesus commands an unclean spirit to leave a man who is crying out “I know who you are – the Holy One of God.” This is a forthright proclamation of Jesus’ identity, yet Jesus tells him to “Be silent!” Perhaps he doesn’t want a demon to be the one to proclaim who he is? Perhaps it’s the wrong time?
There are many times Jesus' identity is revealed. Jesus commands demons (1:25), and those he heals (1:44) not to reveal whom he is. He teaches in parables (4:34) refers to himself as the “Son of Man” and when Peter identifies him as the Christ, he tells his disciples to tell no one (8:29-30). He seems to go out of his way to not self-identify.
Who is Jesus?
His full identity is revealed most clearly in two passages; first by the Father at his baptism (1:11) and ultimately, it was revealed to all at the cross and in his resurrection (16:6-8).
What does this mean for us as followers of Jesus?
First, it doesn’t mean we hide our identity as Christians (Mark 16:15). It means as believers we are saved by Jesus and like Jesus our identity comes from the Father. This is an awesome truth!
Second, We must get to know Jesus more to really understand who we are.
To be loved, recognized and saved by our creator is not to be made less of, but to share in the glory and recognition of Jesus himself. “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.”
What is Jesus’ identity? How would I answer the question he asks Peter in 8:29?
- What is my identity? Do I derive my identity from God, from other people, or from myself?
- How might I help affirm the identity of other Christians, my brothers and sisters in Christ?
Memorize: Mark 1:22
This week's devotional is written by Michael Strickland. Michael is a City Church Owner and serves as a City Group Leader and in the band. He works in the FSU College of Music as the IT Director.