Summary: We find freedom in identifying with Jesus Christ; we find power in identifying who He is.
Life's Biggest Question
Introduction: Two weeks ago we had the opportunity to discuss here in service what it meant to be the bride of Christ as we examined what we called engagement gifts that He has given to each of His us as disciples of Christ. And we concluded that the greatest of the gifts that Jesus gave to us is that we now have the ability and the authority to identify with Him.
Now if you are joining us for the first time or perhaps catching up, for the past month or so we have been tackling the idea of identity. It seems to be the greatest cultural question of our day and the truth is that it always has been. Am I man? Am I a girl? Am I homosexual, heterosexual, or both? Do black lives matter? Do blue lives matter? Do all lives matter? Am I republican, democrat, green party, tea party, or independent? Who am I? Why am I here? Is what they say about me true? etc. etc.
Every decision society makes hinges on the issue of identity. And it really makes sense. As the line of morality is blurred more and more we have lost the security we once had in absolute truth and as Christians we are far too often left shaken, uncertain of who we are, what it means to follow Jesus, why we’re here, and even doubting what love really is.
Life is filled with many questions. More than you or I can ever answer. In fact, as I examined my own life and found question after question, curiosity took hold and I spent a number of hours googling what life’s biggest questions are? What exactly is life’s biggest question? At first it was the endless philosophical debate one would expect:
How did I get here?
What is the meaning of life?
Is God real? Who is He?
Did we evolve from apes?
Is life really just a matrix?
Is truth relevant or absolute? And on and on and on.
But then I stumbled upon something that probably more accurately reflects the greatest questions of our day. Apparently using algorithms Google keeps a record each year of the most common questions. In 2014 the top question concerning love was, “What is love” and it was searched five times more than “what is science” and “how do I kiss” was searched more than any other activity including ‘how to survive.’
Remember the apostle Paul said, “if I have not love, I have nothing.” What Google essentially reveals is that people would rather die than to live without love. We were made to belong to someone. We were made to have a relationship with our heavenly Father; to love and be loved by Him.
Now concerning time, the most common question was ‘when is Easter’, which is a bit understanding, followed by another I couldn’t help but shake my head at; ‘when is Halloween?’
Pay attention to this part especially, as it is by far the most revealing. Among all the questions of how, who, what, why, and when searched in 2014, ‘how’ took first place appearing 8x times more than who.
Here’s a thought: Could it be that the reason we struggle so much with identity is that we spend far too much time asking ‘how’ when we should be asking ‘who’?
If you know me, you know I’m a movie buff; perhaps more than I should be and what makes a movie great to me is when it starts off on a climax, builds up to a cliffhanger and then gives you the backstory before revealing the ending. That’s how we’ll tackle today’s scripture.
Scripture: In Matthew 16, Jesus is having a conversation about His identity with His disciples, and Jesus asked every one of them an all-important question:
(Matthew 16:13-15 NASB) "13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?""
"Who do you say I am?" Spoiler alert! Simon Peter answered and he got it right.
Jesus didn’t ask the question because He was self-conscience about what people thought or because He was on the verge of some mid-life crisis struggling to find Himself. I’m sure the jeers of society probably hurt, but He didn’t ask for His ego to be boosted, or even to be comforted. He asked them for the same reason He asks us. He desires to reveal His glory to us, He desires to reveal His truth to us, He desires to give us life.