And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” (Mark 8:27)
By Bishop Jarod Cruthis
Identity is a component of our human nature that eludes many. It is through the lack of identity that confusion, doubt, and false teachings begin to take hold. They not only grasp our thoughts, but our God-view, or world-view, and our view of self. If we don’t truly understand who we are, then how will we ever know how to walk out our calling in life? If you don’t know your name, to what do you answer?
Although Jesus had no doubt as to his identity and mission in this life, He asked an interesting question to those closest to Him. “Who do men say that I am?” What an interesting and somewhat perplexing question. Why would Jesus, the Son of God want to know who or what people thought of Him? The question was not for his betterment, it was for those around Him. You see, the confidence that Christ had in his own identity was a gift from the Father that we all share if and only if we begin to identify with Christ. The conversation in the Gospel of Mark between the disciples and especially Peter, gives us a look inside of our own misgivings about Christ and our own identity. Some believed Jesus to be a prophet, some believed He was sent from God, others believed His power was not of God. Then we have Peter who enters the conversation. Peter says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” There was no doubt in Peter’s mind about who stood before Him that day.
Just like Peter, it is imperative that we understand who Jesus is. Why you may ask? Just as in an early devotion I spoke about we who believe are in Christ and He in us. How can we be of any benefit if we do not understand who is in us? For Christians, our identity begins and ends with Christ. We are children of the most High, friends of God, seated in Heavenly places, filled to overflowing with power…the same power that raised Jesus from the dead! Now with that, how could we ever doubt or live as if we didn’t know who we are?
The answer is simple. When we place more attention on feelings, emotions, thoughts and opinions of others, we begin to identify with the negative things that catch our attention. If you buy into the lie, you become a product of that lie. If someone tells you that you can’t long enough you will then begin to live as if you can’t. If you listen to those fearful thoughts in your mind that say you will never accomplish great things, then you will always run from greatness. In the fleeing there is a slow dying of the spirit, of the purpose and call, and of your true identity.
So beloved, today I ask, “What does God say about you?” Do you know? If not, there is an entire love story written over thousands of years that will give you all the answers. Even if you can’t grasp this today, you will…it was written just for you! You are loved, you are empowered, and you can do all things! It’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to that makes all the difference.
May God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit open your eyes, your ears, your mind, and heart today to hear your name! May you walk in your true identity and accomplish all that God has placed in front of you!