Today, I will be talking about an aspect of Jesus’ experience while on earth that is very meaningful to me personally. I hope that what I am about to share will be a blessing to you all. (Note: Since I am trying to minimize wrist work due to a wrist pain flareup I am currently experiencing, I will not hyperlink the Bible verses this time.)
Jesus had a clear sense of identity. He knew who He was. He was so thoroughly convinced about who He was, that He was able to maintain His self respect, personal dignity and sense of purpose and mission no matter what people said to Him or about Him.
While spending time at the temple in Jerusalem at the age of 12, Jesus made a statement which showed that He knew that He was the Son of God. He told His parents (who had lost track of Him while He had been conversing with the religious leaders in the temple) that He needed to be about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49).
Years later, at Jesus’ baptism, God the Father proclaimed from heaven that Jesus was indeed His beloved Son and that He was very pleased with Him (Matthew 3:16-17). Jesus believed what His Father said about Him; He believed it with all of His heart.
Shortly after His baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness where the devil came and challenged His identity. The devil repeatedly attempted Jesus to sin and kept challenging His status as the Son of God. Two times the devil said the words, “ If You are the Son go God”. The devil became so bold in the end that he actually tried to entice Jesus to bow down and worship him. God does not worship the beings that He created, and the devil is a formerly good angel that God created who has chosen to rebel against Him (Ezekiel 28:12-19). The devil did not succeed in causing Jesus to deny who He was and he did not succeed in causing Jesus to worship him. After the devil asked Jesus to worship him, Jesus commanded the devil to leave, and the devil did leave and holy angels came and ministered to Jesus (Matthew 4:3-11).
Interestingly, later on in Jesus’ ministry on earth, corrupt church leaders accused Jesus of having a devil. Jesus clearly explained that it is impossible for Satan to cast out Satan (Matthew 12:23-29). We can see here that Jesus was not deceived regarding who He was even when church leaders told Him that He was working in harmony with devils. We can be assured that Jesus was not working in harmony with devils because we have already learned that when Jesus met the devil face to face, He did not give in to him.
Perhaps the most profound example of Jesus’ strong sense of identity is revealed in the way that He carried Himself during the wicked trial that the corrupt church leaders organized in order to have Him “convicted” and crucified. Jesus had always been a poor Man, but He had exerted tremendous influence throughout His ministry on earth. The corrupt church leaders knew that Jesus was not an ordinary Man, but they refused to accept Him as God, even though the evidence of this was plainly there for them to see.
While going through this wicked and dishonest trial, Jesus continued to carry Himself with dignity. Most of the time, He said nothing in response to the questions that were being asked of Him. When He did speak, He spoke honestly. While Jesus was standing before a Roman governor as a criminal even though He was truly innocent, Pilate, the Roman governor, asked Him if He was is the king of the Jews. Jesus told him that this was correct (Luke 23:1-3). Jesus knew who He was, even while He was being mocked and persecuted by a wicked mob of people.
While Jesus was hanging on the cross, the soldiers who were involved in His crucifixion began to tempt Him and to challenge His identity, just at Satan had done a few years before. They said; “ If You are the king of the Jews, save Yourself” (Luke 23:37 NKJV). The Jews themselves challenged His identity while they watched Him die. They said; “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God” (Luke 23:35 NKJV). Through it all, Jesus never lost His sense of identity. He still knew who He was.
We can clearly see this by the way in which He interacted with a criminal who was dying on the cross beside Him. The thief asked Jesus to remember him when He would come in His kingdom. Jesus assured the thief that he would be with Him in Paradise. Paradise is another word for heaven. The criminal recognized that Jesus was God and that He had the power to take him to heaven. Jesus did not say anything to give the criminal the impression that he was mistaken: that He actually was not God and that He did not have the power to take people to heaven. Jesus had not lost His sense of identity. He still knew who He was.
After Jesus had been resurrected from the dead, and after He had ministered a while longer on earth, He went back to heaven (Luke 24:50-53). Jesus has not lost His sense of identity. He knows who He is, and the proof is there for us to see that He both was and still is who He has said that He is. Jesus is currently in heaven, functioning as our High Priest. He sympathizes with us in our weaknesses, and was tempted to sin while He was on earth, yet He Himself has never sinned. He lives to help us (Hebrews 4:14-16).
God says that He loves us (Jeremiah 31:3). He says that He wants to save us and that He can save us (John 3:16). He says that He has created us for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). He says that even when we have messed up, He still wants to sanctify Himself before those who have seen our messes, by living out His holy life through us. This happens when He changes our hearts (Ezekiel 36: 23-27). God says that there will be people from every people group in heaven (Revelation 5:9-10). Do we believe what God says about us?
There are many voices in this world. Other people tell us what we are: sometimes what they say is correct and other times what they say is not correct. Sometimes we struggle not to internalize the lies that other people tell us about ourselves. Do we believe what God says about us?
Sometimes the devil speaks to us in our minds and tells us terrible things about ourselves that make us feel hopeless. Do we believe what God says about us?
Sometimes we struggle to forgive ourselves for things that we have already confessed to God and been forgiven for. Sometimes we do not believe that we are valuable and we tell ourselves lies about ourselves. Do we believe what God says about us?
For the past several years, the devil has been periodically telling me that I am a female dog. Every time he does this, I respond promptly; “No. I’m a child of God.” I believe what God says about me, and I refuse to lose my sense of identity as a child of His.
A few years ago, I spent time in an atmosphere where derogatory remarks were regularly made about many different kinds of people… on occasion these remarks had to do with people who look like me. I told myself that I was a child of God, and I refused to internalize lies.
I believe what God says about me, and I refuse to lose my sense of identity as a child of His. This world is a hard place. We can lose our good looks, our jobs, our cars, our houses, our money… we can even lose our closest relationships with other people… we can even lose our minds. But there is one thing that will always be ours if we daily accept Jesus as our personal Savior-we will never lose our identity as children of God. There is a beautiful peace in knowing that you are always loved, and that Someone always believes in you. This is a privilege that all of us may have if we will only accept Jesus as our personal Savior.
So I invite you to just come to Him as you are, as I have. You may feel scared and ashamed, but Jesus’ arms are open to you. He will not refuse you if you come. He promises not to cast you out if you come (John 6:37). He promises to give you rest if you will come (Matthew 11:28-30). He promises to forgive you of your sins and to cleanse you from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
If you don’t know how to pray, that is okay. Here is a sample prayer that you can use, but it is okay and right for you to talk to Jesus as you would respectfully talk to a close friend.
I want to know You. I know that I am a sinner and I ask Your forgiveness for my sins. Please give me a new heart and help me to be like You. Please help me to know You.
In Jesus Name Amen
I promise you that Jesus will hear your prayer, and that He will help you.
God says that He loves you (Jeremiah 31:3). He says that He wants to save you and that He can save you (John 3:16). He says that He has created you for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). He says that even when you have messed up, He still wants to sanctify Himself before those who have seen your messes, by living out His holy life through you. This will happens as He changes your heart (Ezekiel 36: 23-27). God says that there will be people from every people group in heaven (Revelation 5:9-10). I welcome you to hold your head high in humble humility. You have the privilege of believing what God says about you… and ultimately…. what He says about you is what really matters.
Blessings and courage. 🙂
The quoted Bible verses in this blog-post are from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.