- John 1: 6-8; 19-28
6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light.
19 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”
21 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”“No.”
22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”24 Then the Pharisees who had been sent 25 asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”
26 John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”
28 This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.
So, I would ask each one of you this morning: who are you?
John the Baptist, knew clearly, who he was. Do you know who you are? Are you living the life that God intended for you to live, being who God made you to be? Have you reached a place of maturity where you know and accept what God says about you, agree with Spirit that this is true of you, and become the best version of you that exists?
Let’s do a small exercise, and review different areas of our lives: starting with our bodies. I want you to close your eyes for a moment, and just be present in your body. Be aware of your head, of your neck, your shoulders, your left arm, your hand, your right arm, your right hand… and now let’s move down to your legs. And now let’s move back to your head. And now, I want to ask you: are you your body? Or is your body simply the vessel that carries you?
If you are not your body, then who are you?
What about your possessions? Do those define who you are? Your home, your car, your bank account? Is that who you are?
How about your job, profession and career? Does that define who you are? How many people do you know that have changed careers? How many times in your life has your career and profession changed? How many people do you know that have been laid off or fired, that have quit, that have moved to another country and had to start over in another field? Is a person truly defined by their career or profession? Who are you?
What about your family? Are you mum, dad, the black sheep, the only single one left, the life of the party, the grandmother? Is that who you are? How many people do you know who have lost members of their family? And yet they still continue to live and find new identities and purposes. Who are you?
How about your emotions? Are you happy, sad, angry, fearful, ashamed, tired? But is that who you are? Or is that simply a state of feeling and emotion that comes and passes?
John responds rather cryptically to the Pharisees and scribes: “I am a voice…” The first verses of John tell us a little more about John the Baptist’s identity:
“God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light.”
And you, who are you? What were you sent for? God sent you… Have you discovered yet what for? Are you living out that purpose? Are you being everything that you could possibly be?
Your identity doesn’t depend on something you do or have done. Most of us confuse doing, having and feeling with being. Instead of saying I feel sad, we identify with the sadness and say “I am sad”. Instead of saying that I work as a lawyer, we say “I am a lawyer”. Instead of saying I have a family, we lose our identity within that family. But is that truly who you are?
John knew who he was. And Jesus certainly knew who he was. Jesus said:
- I am the bread of life.
- I am the light of the world.
- I am the door.
- I am the good shepherd.
- I am the resurrection and the life.
- I am the way, the truth and the life.
- I am the vine.
- “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!
And who are you?
Now, I don’t care much for Joel Osteen, but I quite like part of his start to Sunday services and his declaration about the Bible:
This is my Bible.
I am what it says I am.
I can do what it says I can do.
Who are you?
Who does God, through the Bible, say that you are? Let me give you some ideas:
- You ARE a child of God, complete in Christ – John 1: 12; Colossians 2:10
- You ARE loved, accepted, redeemed, holy, forgiven, free from condemnation, chosen, established, anointed and sealed by God. 1 John 3: 3; Ephesians 1:6; Colossians 1:14; Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 1:21; Colossians 3:12
- You ARE a joint heir with Jesus, united with God and one spirit with God Spirit. Romans 8: 17; 1 Corinthians 6:17
- You ARE a temple of God: his Spirit and life lives in you. 1 Corinthians 6:19
- You are God’s co-worker; a living stone on which the spiritual house is being built. 2 Corinthians 6:1; 1 Peter 2:5
So, if that’s who you are: what are you doing that lives up to this description of you? Does your life reflect who you are?
If you embodied this description of you: what would be different to how you are living your life at the moment? What needs to change in your life, for this to really be you? What would new things would appear in your life if this was you?
What scares you the most about this description of you?
- Being a child of God? a joint heir with Jesus?
- Being united with God – complete Oneness?
- being complete?
- being loved, accepted, redeemed, holy, forgiven, free from condemnation, chosen, established, anointed and sealed by God?
- being God’s temple?
- being God’s co-worker and co-creator?
What obstacles or idols in your life keep you from living this out? What habits or practices do you need to incorporate into your life to live this more fully?
What’s keeping you from living this life today? From walking out of the Church today and being You, the best You that there is, the You that God created you to be in all your fullness and glory, so that others might see Christ in you?
Because today, YOU are the hope of the world. You are the voice in the wilderness. You are the light in the darkness. God sent YOU!