“Who do you think you are?” I heard this from one of my sons just the other day as he was sent to his room and was expressing his outrage at the sentence that I had just handed down to him. He yelled it at the top of the stairs just after stomping up each step like a charging Elephant. His comment kind of brought me up short, who was I? In a moment of tears and anger, my son had struck a chord in me. It wasn’t so much the situation at hand, he certainly needed to be sent to his room (consequences of poor behavior), but it was an existential question that got me thinking literally “who do I think I am?”
In order to answer that very basic question, the Lord gave me His response that question. A moment of epiphany took place within me in my preparation for Good Friday. I was to bring the message that evening and so my study of God’s word became focused on the crucifixion story. Prior to the crucifixion story is an amazing yet brief expository examination on the identity of who Jesus was. Matthew 16:13-16 records this event. Jesus asks His disciples “who do people say the Son of Man is?” His question is first what does the common person know about the identity of this Son of Man? And their response to His question is essentially the Son of Man is a good person, maybe John the Baptist, maybe Elijah, maybe Jeremiah or some other prophet. It’s a response that essentially declares the people didn’t know who the Son of Man was. They truly didn’t comprehend what God’s plan was within the identity of the Son of Man.
Then, after Jesus hears their responses He asks them a more directed question…this time it’s personal, intimate, unguarded; “But what about you?” He asks them looking into their eyes as if He is looking directly into their souls, the very fibers of their created being. The moment of truth is hovering and hanging upon the completion of Jesus’ question, and slowly He asks it almost as if He’s concerned what their answer may be; “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Imagine Andrew glancing at John, as John frowns and exchanges eyes contact with the others and then finally looks at Peter, who always seems to be the boldest of the group. Peter, as if prompted by the non-verbal exchange looks back at Jesus and makes his declaration of faith, identity and purpose; “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”
In a single solitary sentence, Peter makes a statement so bold that to speak it in the wrong place at the wrong time with Pharisees or priests within ear shot would have meant a death sentence. Peter declares Jesus to be Messiah and God’s Son! Jesus’ identity is revealed in scripture, confirmed to His followers, and this epic redemption story is about to unfold for all of humanity. All because that question “Who do you think you are” is answer by Jesus.
Because of who Christ is, revealed to us, we are then able to be identified with Him, who was crucified for our sins and also with His resurrection which is our door by which eternal life is opened to us!
“But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12 ASV)
We now have the right to be called sons and daughters, children of God! That’s who we are! If we are members of the body of Christ, then we ought to no longer struggle with this identity crisis! We are His children! Christ has been revealed to us, His identity is real and His power as the Son of God has conquered sin and death for us! When people ask “who do you think you are?”; we can humbly and confidently reply that we are children of the Most High! Our identity doesn’t give us license to lord it over the world, or judge the world either, but I hope it does provide a measure of peace for our souls. WE ARE HIS! If we identify ourselves as Christians, and we also claim that we too are crucified with Christ then our identity is also answered and we ought not to live in crisis over who we are in this world! (Galatians 2:20)
Who do you think you are today? This question isn’t asked in a condescending tone, but simply inquiring whether or not you know who you are and more importantly WHOSE you are!