Sermons

Summary: A look at how Jesus backed all of His claims with overwhelming evidence that demands our obedience.

They’d been giving me fair warning. If I didn’t get my clergy ID badge made for the hospital, I’d be sorry. Then, I showed up at Freeman for someone’s surgery. It was getting close to the last few minutes of opportunity to visit her beforehand. I arrived at the window and asked where she was. Out of the blue, the lady asked to see my ID. “Uh, I haven’t taken care of that yet! Sorry.” Kay Reed happened to be right there. She put in a good word for me. It was a nice try, but didn’t work. Gary Thomas, head of the chaplaincy dept. walked by. She asked him to help. He looked at me. “Haven’t you gotten your clergy ID badge yet?” I looked down at my shoes. “Nope, just haven’t gotten around to it.” He said, “I’ll go talk to my supervisors and see what I can do. HIPPA regulations are pretty picky.” He led me into his little office nearby. “Here, I’ll be right back. Yeah, you need to get that ID badge. It’s going to get so you won’t be able to move around the hospital at all without your ID badge.” He closed the door. I sat down and waited, impatiently because the time for the surgery kept getting closer. A few minutes later, Gary appeared outside the door. He went to open it, and nothing happened. There was an awkward pause as he looked inside at me. I got up, tried the door, and I couldn’t get it open either. The handle was detached inside the door. I looked around – no other door! I was locked in! Gary said, “Hang on! I’ll get maintenance here.” A few more minutes. 2 guys show up outside the door with Gary. They tinkered with it a few minutes. I sat down to read. After a few more minutes, I got up, took out my trusty pocket knife, took apart the handle, and got the door open. I’ll never forget Gary’s last words before he locked me there in his office: “It’s going to get so you won’t be able to move around the hospital at all without your ID badge.”

When I go into the hospitals now, I make sure that I carry my hospital issue ID!

Hotels, utility companies, police all warn you: make sure that someone claiming to be an employee shows proper identification. There’s good reason for that.

Ill – 1990, Shortly after I graduated from college, Bill Stewart sent me a copy of an article from C Springs - an AP release about Coronado High School where I went to HS. It was about a transfer student – a 17yr old girl named Storme Aerison. She was singing soprano in the choir, and had even made captain of the cheerleading squad, where she performed during at least one pep rally. This went on for 8 days, until some students reported Storme had stubble poking through her makeup. Turns out Storme was a 26yr old man running from the law. He was arrested, and they kicked him off the cheerleading squad. I’m happy to report I never dated any cheerleaders in high school!

Identity claims need to be verified: When someone comes to your door, says he’s a policeman, and asks to come in, you want to make sure he’s a policeman. When you take your car to a man for repairs, you want to be sure he’s a mechanic. When you’re going in for brain surgery, you want to be sure that the person who’s going to work on you really is a neurosurgeon. If someone claims to be something, and then doesn’t offer proof, we won’t accept them. And when someone makes claims that will affect our entire lives and our eternity, we want to be sure about that person.

Along comes a man who makes some straightforward identity claims. They aren’t suggestions. They’re outright statements. You could approach the book of John just by examining all 10 of the “I AM” statements: Bread of Life, Light, Good Shepherd, Way, Truth, Life, The Gate, The Resurrection and the Life, The Vine. Pretty bold. He didn’t carry a Messiah Card. He didn’t wear a badge. It didn’t say it on His driver’s license. How could Jesus support His claims?

If we could chart the importance of a person’s identity, what would it look like? For instance, a young woman at the DMV is there to get her driver’s license. She’ll need some forms of identity. Driver’s licenses are pretty important, so they make sure she is who she claims to be. You go to the doctor, and he suggests you let him do surgery on you. You might want to be sure he is who he claims to be. You’re interviewing job applicants. One claims to have a master’s degree and 15yrs of experience. Depending on the business, you check into it, because the reliability of that person’s claims are important. Look around on the wall of your mechanic’s shop, your tax guy, the person who cuts your hair. They all have posted the papers that back their claim to be able to legally practice their trade. Are those important? Yes! If you don’t want to have an imposter making your car safe, representing you to the federal government, or determining how you’re going to look in public, you’re glad to know their claims are verified. We care about peoples’ claims because they affect us on a daily basis.

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