Identity crisis?

11 08 2011

I’ve just been watching a TV programme in which the boss of a company went undercover to find out what life was like for his employees on the shop floor.  He had to pretend in order to get honest information from the workforce, but at times it was difficult to keep up the act. Towards the end of the programme, he called in the people he had worked alongside and revealed his true identity.  One worker was acutely embarrassed – a real “open the ground and let me disappear” moment; another expressed appreciation for the boss’s efforts to understand the workings of the company.  For all, what had happened slowly began to make sense and change resulted.

The question of Jesus’ identity is raised a number of times in Luke chapters 8 and 9 by different people playing for high stakes –

  • The disciples ask – “Who is this man?” (Luke 8:25)  They have been following Jesus for some time, but they still don’t really know who he is or what they’ve let themselves in for
  • Herod Antipas asks the same question – “Who is this man?” (Luke 9:9) He feels threatened by this miracle worker who has appeared in his vicinity
  • The demon doesn’t ask; he knows who Jesus is, “Jesus, Son of the most high God” (Luke 8:28)

By chapter 9, some of the identity issues are beginning to make sense so when Jesus asks the question, Peter at least is ready.  Here’s the context –

“One day as Jesus was alone, praying, he came over to his disciples and asked them, ‘Who do people way I am?’ 

‘Well,’ they replied, ‘some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead.’

Then he asked them, ‘Who do you say I am?’”

It’s the big identity question – bigger that our 21st century obsession with the individual’s, “Who am I?” 

And how we answer changes everything.

“ Peter answered – ‘You are the Messiah sent from God!’”




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