Matthew 16:15: “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’”

“Who am I?” A long, long time ago Jesus asked a probing question during a heart-to-heart-talk with His close friends, and this question is just as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. – Who is Jesus? – In trying to come up with an adequate answer, we’ll be surprised, once we dig a little deeper; and in the process we are also prone to discover who we are. So, here’s to finding identity!

There are plenty of ways to identify ourselves: we go by our civic identity, our physical identity, and what I call our personal identity – the way I view myself and how others view me.

  • Civic identity: If we are operating a vehicle and joining traffic we better have our ID on us. Once the police pull us over and we don’t produce our driver’s license we’re in deep trouble. We also need proper identification to be employed. To pay taxes we need a tax ID number.
  • Physical identity: The police use fingerprints to ID a person. There are no copycats in God’s creation, not even with identical twins.  Here is an interesting fact: Let’s say an identical twin commits a crime leaving only DNA at the scene – it is possible to suspect both twins of the crime since their DNA is virtually the same. But if the criminal twin leaves fingerprints as well, it will exonerate the other twin. Twins’ fingerprints are very similar but distinguishable upon close examination. That’s how physically unique every human being is!
  • Personal identity: This is where it gets tricky. We have mirrors to look at our physical features. Obviously that’s not how it works with our inner being. There are myriads of personality tests to give us a rough idea how we are wired, but just as physical features don’t stop with our size and skin color, our personality features don’t stop with a personality test and how others try to categorize us. We will find out sooner or later that every person is far too complex to fit in any man-made box.

If we had to choose between the three above-mentioned IDs and determine which part of our makeup is the most crucial, I believe we all would agree on personal identity. It’s a theoretical question anyway, but I doubt that it would matter to us if there was someone out there sharing our fingerprint, and other than a legal hassle, we could exist without a tax ID number. But it’s hard to live without self-respect. That is why it is so important to understand that we are loved. In one of his letters John elaborates (1 John 3:1):

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”

God has loved us from the moment of our conception, and He has a passionate desire to turn us into family. God wants us close. He wants us to know Him, and this is why He reveals Himself to us in key moments of our lives. Jesus is called the bridegroom for a reason. He marries members of God’s creation into God’s family and turns them into family members. We become God’s children thanks to Him, and this is our new cherished identity that defines us – wherever we are and wherever we go.

“There are times when all the world’s asleep
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man.
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.”

(Songwriters: RICHARD DAVIES, ROGER HODGSON)