Who Are You? John #41. John 8 or Who Am I?
What you believe affects just about everything in your life.
When reading the Bible, we come up with opinions and pictures of the people we encounter. In John chapter 8 for example, we have a picture in our minds of the woman caught in the act of adultery and thrown down before Jesus to hear what he thought should be done to her . . . we have a picture of the men who stood there wanting to stone her, another picture of the self-righteous Pharisees who dared take apart the Son of God who was in Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Tabernacles, like them.
But Who. Are. You.?
It is a big question, and the more you consider the answer, the bigger it becomes . . . but with the revelation of one fact, it all becomes so very simple.
In the western world, it seems many people answer the question by listing the roles they have. For instance, ‘Who are you?’ I asked the youngish man on my left. ‘I’m a financial advisor, a husband, a dad, a son, an athlete . . .’ Then perhaps, he thinks to himself, ‘maybe she is inquiring about my personality or temperament . . . or wait, maybe she is asking ‘what makes me tick?’ because come to think of it, what motivates me is a little different . . . or maybe it is all of those things together!’ Dang, ‘Who are you?’ is a bigger question that I thought.
After all, as a human being, you accumulate different experiences, memories, desires, beliefs, knowledges and sensations, right? Who. Are. You.? So am I just the composite of all of those things and a few others like DNA, education, etc.? Hmmm.
Permit me to dial it back a moment, and explain in brief how I came to an answer. Over the years that I have been teaching and writing about the Bible, I have addressed the question of Does God Exist? a number of times. One of the evidences for God is the intelligent design of the universe, including the miraculous design of the human being.
In Genesis 1.26-27, we read, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Created by God. . . what a marvelous concept! As compared to the atheistic viewpoint.
Is there a God? No.
What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is.
What is the purpose of the universe? There is none.
What is the meaning of life? Ditto.
Why am I here? Just dumb luck.
Does prayer work? Of course not.
Is there a soul? Is it immortal? Are you kidding?
Is there free will? Not a chance!
When happens when we die? Everything pretty much goes on as before, except us.
What is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad? There is no moral difference between them.
Why should I be moral? Because it makes you feel better than being immoral.
Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don't like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory? Anything goes.
What is love, and how can I find it? Love is the solution to a strategic interaction problem. Don't look for it; it will find you when you need it.1
Ugh. Compare that with the psalmist’s understanding of a Creator God who, in the 139th psalm says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”2 . . . wait, what? Someone knew me before I came to be?!
Enter the Gospel, enter Jesus who changed everything, as noted by Paul who writes, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.3
Designed. Created. Imbued with purpose. And one more thing: Beloved. You are much loved by God.4 Because that is true - so true - the answer to ‘Who. Are. You.’ is simple. “I am the much-loved child of God.” And that is not just good - it is great.
1 - The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, Alex Rosenberg
2 - Psalm 139.13-16
3 - Ephesians 2.10
4 - Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen