Monday, 22 August 2011

Who Am I?—a Summertime One-Pager with reference to Exodus 1:8-2:10, Romans 12:1-8 and Matthew 16:13-20

Mt 16:15 “But what about you?” Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do you say I am?” And Peter is the first one on earth to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the Living God.
Let’s switch sides for a moment and look at the same question from a different angle.
Speaking to the seven Sons of Sceva in Acts 19:15 just before they were beaten soundly (Acts 19:16) the evil spirit they were trying to cast out asks them “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
Who are you? Good summertime question for me, especially as the fall ministry launch approaches. Considering who Peter says Jesus is, who am I and who are you? Would anyone outside these walls know who you and I are spiritually?
Who am I? If I’m not Moses, set adrift in a papyrus basket, or Paul, knocked to the ground and temporarily blinded on his way to Damascus breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, or Peter, the one upon whom Jesus said He would build His church, then who am I and do I matter?
I am a child of the Living God. And so are you. That means I matter. So do you. Even though we didn’t make it into the Bible.
Although details of my birth and life so far may not have been as dramatic as those we read about in the Bible and even thought they may not be written about and discussed in the future; they are real God ordained details and circumstances and they are part of what God is doing in the world. So are yours.
I am loved. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is very fond of me; He is also very fond of you.
I am a Christian. When I decided to believe that Jesus is who Peter says He is in our gospel reading this morning and to trust in Him, I received the impossibly generous gift of salvation from sin and death. So did you, if you also believe in Jesus.
I am baptized. So are most of you.
After and out of all that comes who I really am. Same for you.
What am I for? Moses was born in Egypt, Paul in Tarsus, Jesus in Bethlehem. I was born in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, on the 25th of February 1947 of Darcy George and Margaret Jean Packwood to give glory and delight to the Living God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and to show and tell who Jesus is in all the circumstances and details of my life. That is also why, when and where you were born.
Because of who I am, a follower and worshipper of Jesus, I also have gifts, as Paul says in our Romans reading (Romans 12:1-8), according to the grace given me. So do you. Grace is God’s empowering presence to make me who He made me to be and to do what he made me to do—grace makes me able to do things I am unable to do on my own.
I have one or some of the gifts Paul lists in our reading from Romans (12:6-8):  prophecy, serving, teaching, encouraging, contributing to the needs of others, leadership, showing mercy. So do you. I don’t have them all. Neither do you. We all have different gifts says Paul in verse 6. There are more. For example, the Hebrew midwives had the gift of courage and Godly resistance. Paul lists other gifts in 1 Cor 12: words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miracles, distinguishing of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues, helps, administration. They are all for the common good and the greater gifts, Paul also says, are to be earnestly desired.
As we exercise the gifts God gave us, others will come to know who we really are and, what is more important, our lives will show and tell who Jesus is.
This is who we are and what we’re for.