Summary: When we become Christians, we lose our "identity Crisis" because we are clothed in Christ’s identity
Matthew 3:13-4:11 January 11, 2004
Clothed in Christ
Today is the day in the liturgical calendar celebrating Jesus’ baptism.
13Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14But John didn’t want to baptize him. "I am the one who needs to be baptized by you," he said, "so why are you coming to me?"
15But Jesus said, "It must be done, because we must do everything to fulfill all righteousness " So then John baptized him.
16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
Wouldn’t you love to hear this? A voice from heaven saying this is my son, this is my daughter, whom I love, with him I am well pleased, with her I am well pleased?
Maybe you’d just like it if your own father or mother would say it, or your spouse, or any other human being…
We so need to hear that we are loved and that someone, especially our creator, our heavenly Father is pleased with us
But just hearing these words does not make everything easy and perfect – right after Jesus hears these words he his led by the Spirit out into the wilderness where he is tempted by Satan.
There are these three strange temptations
One, to make stones into bread
Matthew 4:1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
4Jesus answered, "It is written: ’Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ "
Two, to fain suicide and thus call the angels to save him
5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6"If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
" ’He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ "
7Jesus answered him, "It is also written: ’Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ "
Three, to bow down to the devil and thus gain all the kingdoms of the world
8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
10Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ’Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ "
11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
What holds all these temptations together is whether or not Jesus truly believes what he has been told at his baptism.
If you really are the Son of God, prove it!
The temptations have less to do with bread and suicide than they do with whom Jesus believes himself to be. Although Jesus is hungry, the great temptation is not to make bread, but to prove his power at the prompting of the devil. Throwing oneself off the temple isn’t much of a temptation at all – not many of us would say, ‘boy, I’ve always wanted to do this, now is my chance!” No the temptation is showing that divine power in a frivolous way, outside of the Father’s will.
The third temptation is about grasping at what would be his – the promise is that the Father would place all things under his feet, that he would be the King of kings. The Devil gives him a short cut – “don’t worry about the cross or obedience, just bow to me and I’ll give you all the kingdoms of the earth.”
You’ve just been told you are God’s Son whom He loves and in whom He is well pleased, do you really believe it?
So much of the temptations and the issues in our life surround this one theme, the theme of Identity. Who am I really?
I watched this movie a few months ago called “City By The Sea” It is the story of a cop played by Robert De Nero who’s father had killed a child in a botched kidnapping and received the death penalty for it, De Nero himself had once hit his wife who he was divorced from. His son had become a drug addict living on the street committing petty crime to support his habit. All the way through the movie these men reject the things they had done. De Nero says of his dad, “that wasn’t him, he wasn’t the kind of man who kidnapped or killed.” When talking about his past relationship and the violence he says, “that is not who I am, I don’t do that sort of thing.” His son says to him, “this is not who I am, a street addict.” They all reject the names that would condemn them, Kidnapper, Murderer, Wife Beater, Street Addict. “this is not who I am.”