Who do you say that I am? That was the question that Jesus asked of his disciples over two thousand years ago. The Apostle Peter boldly replied, “[Jesus], you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
It is my prayer that your heartfelt belief matches St. Peter’s testimony.
But what I’d like to talk with you about today is how you might answer that same question about yourself: “Who do you say that you are?” Just like the apostles speculated about what others were believing about Christ’s identity, would others you know be able to answer the question about who you really are. Maybe some would get a part of your identity right; some may even know you pretty well. But I doubt you would allow other’s to dictate what your identity is to you. Only you know who you really are, right?
Unfortunately, for many of us, who we really are is still a mystery. We are dynamic, we are evolving, and a lot of us are still searching for our true identities. And, tragically, some of us are still trying to be someone else, someone we are definitely not, or worse wanting someone else to be everything to or for us.
I believe when we find our true identity, we find God.
St. Augustine said: “How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self? Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know Thee.”
The 13th century mystic Meister Eckhart said quite poignantly: “No one can know God who does not first know himself.”
Even the Protestant reformer John Calvin couldn’t decide between knowing God or knowing yourself: “Our wisdom … consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of two precedes and gives birth to the other.”
So, the question really isn’t about who others say that you are or even who you say that you are. We can look in the mirror all we want and self-affirm ourselves like the silly caricature of Stuart Smalley.
No, it really isn’t who you say that you are, but it is the question you ask of God: Who Do You, Lord, say that I am. God how do you know me, and how should I know myself through the eyes of Jesus.
Though Scripture speaks in many instances about who we are, created in God’s own image, more than conquerors, ambassadors of God, listen to what St. Peter said of those who claim the name of Christ: “You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession” (1 Peter 2:9, NLT).
First, we are chosen, we are adopted to into God’s family; we are sons and daughters of the Most High, Creator of all things. God is our Father, the Holy Spirit is our Mother, and Jesus is our brother. What an incredible family to be a part of.
Second, we are co-rulers with God in Christ, seated next to Jesus on thrones of grace, Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses of the Heavenly Realm on Earth. You may be a carpenter, a stay-at-home parent, an accountant, but your true identity is majestic and noble.
Finally, who you are is a priest of God, a mediator of the divine to the world who do not yet recognize the Jesus as the Benevolent loving King of the Universe. We mediate God’s love, His grace, His forgiveness, His salvation through Jesus Christ.
You are a special member of God’s family, a co-heir with Christ, and a minister of reconciliation; that is who God says you are; that is your identity.
(c) Paul Dordal, 2014