Scripture: Luke 9:18 CEB
“Once when Jesus was praying by himself, the disciples joined him, and he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’”
Have you ever wondered what people think of you? Maybe to put it in different terms … do you ever think about if your life is having an impact on the people around you? Perhaps you wonder if you have done everything you could for your family. Maybe you have thought about whether your work will have any lasting usefulness or meaning. It’s normal to take stock of your life in this way. We all seek to live lives of purpose and meaning. We hope that we are making a difference in the lives of the people we love, work with, and encounter on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter what we do to earn money either, whatever we do we can make a difference and live a life of great purpose and meaning. Our identity is not what we do, our identity is who we are.
In the Scripture for today, Jesus was praying alone when the disciples joined him (we might read interrupted him). The passage does not tell us what Jesus was praying about. Jesus had just fed the five thousand people with just a young man’s lunch. As the disciples come to him Jesus asks them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” One might be able to conclude that Jesus was praying about the impression he had left on the crowds that day. Did they really know who was feeding them, physically and spiritually? It is possible that Jesus was talking with God the Father about their plan for his time on earth and the effect his ministry was having. Who do they really think Jesus is and what is Jesus really doing? The disciples tell him that the crowds are saying that Jesus is one of the prophets of old come back. Jesus then asks them, “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus wants to know if his own disciples understand who he is. This is when Peter answers, “(You are) the Christ sent from God.” Peter understands in this moment who Jesus is and not just what Jesus has done.
Peter was right! Jesus was The Christ sent from God. Everything Jesus did was because of this identity. Peter would later learn that his identity was so much more than being a person who traveled with Jesus. Peter would learn that his identity came from Christ. Because of who Jesus said that he was, Peter would be the rock on which Jesus would build the whole church. Just like Peter, our identity comes from who Jesus says we are and nowhere else. No matter what the world says, what your coworkers or friends say, what your parents or teachers might have said, or anyone else in the world. Your identity comes from who Jesus says you are and no one or nowhere else. The temptation is to be swayed by what others think about us. Do not listen to any lies. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are only to be concerned with who Jesus says we are. And Jesus says we are sons and daughters of the most high God and we are people of great worth.
Today ask Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” Listen for the answer, especially if you have not considered asking this question of Jesus before. Read through the words of Jesus seeking his words about who we are as followers of his. Today be sure to live in the hope, knowledge, and power of knowing that you are a child of God and a person of great worth. This is your identity! Don’t listen to anything or anyone that tries to tell you differently. Your identity in Christ should humble you and empower you at the same time. Through this identity you will make a difference today. You can live a life of purpose and meaning today as a follower of Christ.
Prayer: Holy God, thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, in whom my identity is revealed. Empower me today to know that I am a child of yours and a person of great worth. Humble me to know that I am who I am because of you. You created me and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I pray in Jesus name that I will make a difference for you today. Amen.