Who am I?
Who am I?- Sunday 24 June.
Police figures released in early March put the total cost of fraud at a minimum of £13.8bn. 45% of the fraud investigated by the police is believed to have been instigated using identity theft. (Metropolitan Police, March 2007).
Which Magazine believes that as many as 10% of UK citizens have suffered from Identity theft.
Our identity is very important to us. We work very hard during our lives to find out who we are and feel very bad when others try to take it from us.
If someone says to you- Do you know my friend Brian Foster and they say
“ Is he the guy who’s a pilot” That would be a very poor piece of identification
Brian is a pilot but that is not all that he is.
He is a committed Christian, a loving husband and father and a wise and faithful friend. He is an elder in the Church, a highly qualified engineer, a trustee, a competent cook and so the list goes on.
We could try White male, early 60’s He is about 6 foot 2” weighs about 13 stone, Medium build wears glasses,
Our identity is also something we can prove and show evidence for
I received a card through the door the other day saying I had post to collect. I had to produce two bits of evidence to prove who I was.
2. Who is Jesus?
Jesus clearly knew who He was
Jn 8:58 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
In the last few months I have been taking us through Mark’s Gospel to find out a little bit more about Jesus.
The last session looked at Chapters 2-7 and concentrated on the amazing power & authority ministry of Jesus.
Power to Heal
Authority of natural and spiritual world- remember that awesome list of miracles
Since then The word of God has taken us on a journey as a church which leads us very neatly to a Question
A question that Jesus asked: Please turn to Mark Chapter 8: 27
Mk 8:27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
Now before we look at their answer turn back a few pages in your bible to Chapter 6 verse 14
Mk 6:14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
Mk 6:15 Others said, “He is Elijah.”
And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”
Mk 6:16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
It was not only Jesus who was keen to see what people thought about who Jesus was. The King of Judea wanted to know too.
Let’s compare the answers he got to those the disciples gave.
Mk 8:28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
We will come to Peter’s response in a minute. Let’s look at the nature of the opinions of others.
Three responses are given
John the Baptist
One of the Prophets.
In both cases we are seeing an identification of Jesus that is the same.
It is the same partial identification of Jesus that we see today.
Jesus the prophet- The man with the words of God.
A man held in awe by both believers and non-believers alike.
Atheists, The followers of Islam, Hindu’s, Mormons You name it they all honour the words of Jesus Christ. Hailing him as a prophet.
Someone who is trying to help us be better people.
But this is not a complete identification. It is like a police identikit picture with half the bits missing. In fact the bits that truly identify Him are missing.
Jesus has demonstrated some frustration with this just a few verses before
Mk 8:18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?
3. Who do you say that I am?
Jesus is clearly keen to press on and get a view from closer to home. He is the one who has spent all these months teaching these friends of His.
They have seen him do the most amazing things
Say the most amazing things.
Being with Him
So He asks them
Mk 8:29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
He wants to know.
Some commentators talk about this question as dividing Mark’s Gospel in half
Up until this point there has been the powerful gradual revelation of who Jesus is to the disciples.
Following this question the journey is different –it is towards the cross and the fulfillment of who He was.
The answer seems obvious to us from this side of the question, but the pause while a response came was one of those great moments in the history of the cosmos.
Then it comes
Peter answered, “You are the Christ.’”
Mk 8:30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Matthew records slightly more Ch 16:16 You are the Christ the Son of the Living God.
You are the Christ
What does that mean- Christ is a Greek word that means ‘Anointed one’
Anointed- Anointed Where have we heard that word before?
What does anointed mean? Someone who has had oil poured on Him
More specifically the image is of someone who has had God’s Holy Spirit poured upon Him.
And to really drive the point home- for a Jew to us the term anointed one they would have used the word Messiah. The one who has been prophesied who will Save Israel.
This full to the brim so that you overflow, so that it runs down like a champagne fountain
This anointing that has been prophesied in Isaiah 61.
This anointing to save the Lost.
This is who Jesus is it is His identity, The anointed one.
4. The revelation of who He is
There is something I want to draw from Matthew’s account now
Mt 16:17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
Mt 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
This is so important-
Peter could not get this answer by working it out himself. He would have come up with a similar answer to the ones already heard; e.g. You are the wisest man I have ever met.
The Revealed Words came to Him- You are the Christ.
So much so that this is the changing moment in Peter’s life too- He gets a name change from Simon to Peter.
To remind Him of the importance of that moment- He carried it round with Him all His life. It was the Rock on which he built the rest of his life- Jesus is the anointed one
It was the rock on which the Church was built – not the man Peter, no the revelation That Jesus is the anointed one.
We also cannot know who Jesus is by trying to work it out in our heads- It is revealed to us by God- One minute we think He is the wisest most wonderful man who ever lived and the next – He is the Christ the Son of the Living God.
5. Anointed Deeds and Anointed Words.
Looking back to the previous chapters of Mark we have seen Jesus moving powerfully in this anointing. He was using abilities and authority that are not found in any other person before or since.
But it is not just what He did that was anointed. It was also what He said. In the chapters that follow we see an increased number of occasions when Jesus speaks in a particular way. He uses the phrase;
Truly I tell you (The word Amen!)
He was bring God’s word to people; listening to what the Spirit was saying to Him and stepping out in faith to bring a revelation to the person in front of Him.
Mk 8:12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.”
Mk 9:1 And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”
Mk 9:13 But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.”
Mk 9:41 I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
Mk 10:15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Mk 10:29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel
Mk 11:23 “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
Mk 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mk 12:43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
Mk 13:30 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
Mk 14:9 I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Mk 14:18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”
Mk 14:25 “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”
Mk 14:30 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”
Jesus when He spoke in this way was speaking prophetically.- Out of the anointing that He has.
6. Christians- The Anointed ones.
Now I tell you the Truth
In the moment we become Chistians- followers of the anointed one, we too become anointed.
When I spoke last year about prophetic DNA I said
When we were born again we became different beings. This was not a change of cosmetic nature but at the deepest level possible at the DNA and beyond.
In the West we are very material a chair is a chair it is a thing. We are anatomy the sum of our genetics.- cells and chromosomes and blood and tissue and to many that is all they want to accept or think about.
But if we are honest and face the reality that cries to us, then we know we are more than what we see and touch and feel. More than our emotions more even than our sense of identity. There is something that is eternal in us a spirit. That Spirit is connected to God at a level beyond our understanding. It is an eternal connection.
The word of God is not unclear about this.
- Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’”
- Jn 3:6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
For your own study look also at 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 Get a reminder of our changed nature in 1:Peter 2:9-10
We are an anointed people. This is our true potential- some analogies
Muscle wastage when we do not exercise
Qualification that is ours but that we do not use (My First aid certificate)
License to drive
The blind or deaf
We are the lights, we are the cities on hills we are the mountain raised up
We are made of different stuff to that which we were made of before.
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me.