I asked myself this question on Sunday while preparing to talk to my youth group. And it was kind of weird because normally I don’t ask myself that kind of question, but I’ll ask others. It’s very much like holding up a mirror and asking a person what they see because more often than not, you’ll find that when a person is asked to describe Jesus, the answer will tell you more about the person answering, than it will about Jesus. Most likely. Not always, but most likely that will be the case.
So someone who says “Jesus is my homeboy,” is expressing a need for peers, for equal companionship and fellowship that they can find in Jesus. Someone who says “Jesus is Healer,” might be suffering from some kind of ailment whether physical or emotional. “Jesus is a rebel, he upsets the norm” is probably an outcast like me and wants to make a difference in an indifferent society.
To say “Jesus is a rock star” like I so often do, indicates a need for approval. (PS, I’m not fishing – I’m trying to be transparent)
So that made me wonder if Jesus, the Savior of the world (which is either sincere or the party line, this one is kind of hard to discern) didn’t come only to save us, to die for us and advance the Kingdom of God, but also to be all things to all people. Paul tells us to be all things to all people so as to better bring them to Christ who can fulfill all our needs. But how often do limit our understanding of Christ by that which He is able to give us?
On a side note, I also wonder if this isn’t connected to the typical Western mindset that also compartmentalizes and categorizes everything.
But seriously, how often do we allow activity determine identity? You go to a party and are introduced to someone for the first time and 9 times out of 10 the first question out there is “so what do you do?” As if a career is all we need to understand everything about this person. Never mind that a computer programmer can still have a great love of art, and never mind that a classical dancer is dying to retire so he can play golf, we immediately categorize them, their life, and everything we could possibly want to know about them based on their activity.
Jesus healed the leper, well that’s what he is – that’s WHO he is: a healer. He wants to heal the world of all its hurts. Well yes, that’s true but that isn’t everything. We must recognize that Jesus’ identity, His relationship to the Father is what determined his activity. “The Son can do nothing by himself, he can do only what he sees the Father doing.”
I can tell you from my own personal experience, that I have spent more time doing stuff, so that I could say “I’m a _______” then justify that identity because of my activity. And that is hollow.
Because what happens when I no longer have the energy or the drive to do that? What if I don’t like setting up the sound equipment every Sunday? What if I don’t enjoy the customer service gig I have 9-5? What happens when I finally stop the activity? I lose my identity and then what? Who am I?
Instead I need to follow Jesus example and figure out who I am instead, and let my identity determine my activity. And the only identity that is lasting, is my identity in the Father.
Of course now I’m left with the question of what exactly that is, but hey, I got time to figure that one out J