Let us pray: Dear Savior, You have told us that “the truth will set us free.” Likewise, we know that You are “the way, the truth, and the life.” So, today we come to thank You for giving us true spiritual freedom. We thank You for setting our souls free from worry, doubt, and fear of the future. We thank You for giving us freedom from death by giving us Your victory of life. All of this comes to us freely through Your blessed gift of faith. So, today we thank You for that gift as well. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR SAVIOR FROM SIN AND DEATH!
TEXT: Luke 9: 18-24
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
Do you have a heavy foot when you drive? Perhaps I don’t need to even ask that question since it is Massachusetts?! State police seldom, if ever, take seriously our excuses for speeding. After all, they have seen and heard it all before. However, I do have a true story for you today where a friend of mine eluded a speeding ticket. A number of years ago this pastor friend who served two churches about 15 miles apart had completed his first service and was hurrying to church # 2. He was late and, as usual, he was going faster than he should have. Suddenly, a police car pulled up alongside with lights flashing. He was caught! But, just as suddenly, he had an inspiration! He pointed to the clerical collar he was wearing, gestured down the road, and gave a shrug. The police officer simply waved him off and let him go on his way. That simple gesture was his way of saying to the policeman: “Do you know who I am?” And obviously, he did! And he actually cared!
Politicians, celebrities, and self-important people sometimes trot out that question: “Do you know who I am?” in order to get themselves out of trouble, or to elicit special treatment. And most of the time it doesn’t work because they are a legend only in their own minds. Today, as we consider this simple text, I want you to ponder that same question—addressed to you by Christ, your Savior. What is your response when He asks you:
DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?
Why do ordinary humans ever ask that question of another at all? The bottom line is: pride. We all have an inflated image of ourselves. We all think we’re much more important than we actually are. So, people ask “do you know who I am?” of the restaurant hostess in order to badger her into providing a table. People do it to draw attention to themselves in hope of preferential treatment. But, what happens if we’re so filled with self-importance that we ask that question of God? What’s His response? “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” “There is none righteous, no not even one.” “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies—all these things come out of the heart and defile the man.”—That’s what God says. Not a pretty picture, is it?
You know all of that, too. That’s why you came this morning. You came to confess that you were a poor, miserable sinner who desperately needs God’s help to save your life and make it meaningful and worthwhile. So, if you truly meant it when you confessed your sins moments ago, why ever would you ever ask: “do you know who I am?” of another person ever again? For that question is incompatible with Christian humility.
Mere human motivation behind that question is always tainted by pride. But, since Christ was and is God’s Son, and since He has no selfish pride, He can and He does ask that question of us. And the reason behind His asking is to both work and elicit faith in our hearts. His motivation is loving. It is to save our souls.
“Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’” Since Jesus knows all things, obviously He already knew the answer. But, this question wasn’t really about the crowds. It was about the disciples. It was asked in love in order to get them to lay their faith on the line for Him and to confess Him as their Savior—to face up to their high calling as God’s chosen ones. The disciples’ first response shows that they didn’t understand this subtle meaning behind His words. Instead, they took it at face value and responded accordingly. “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” And then comes the clincher. “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” And, of course, impetuous Peter responds for them all with that amazing confession: “The Christ of God!”
Today, Jesus asks each of you: “Do you know who I am?” So, what’s your answer? Is He only a prophet? O good Man? A great teacher? Or, is He the eternal Son of God who came to earth to save your soul? That title “Christ” means “the anointed One.” It means the Savior. It means the One Whom God has promised. It conveys life, light, hope, love, and joy. Unlike us humans who think we somehow earn the accolades of others by engaging in self-centered aggrandizement, Christ actually did earn accolades through self-sacrificing love. He touches on that, too, when He says: “The Son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised from the dead.” There’s the real reason, the real truth behind: “do you know who I am?”
We see here that Jesus defines Himself by His relationship with us poor sinners. He defines Himself by His ability to give totally of Himself to save our souls—even to the point of death. So, what do you define yourself by? Ultimately, for the Christian there is only one answer. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”
What’s Jesus talking about? He talking about humbleness and self-sacrifice. He’s talking about daily drowning your sins by believing that His blood has bought back your soul from sin, death, and the devil. He’s talking about putting aside your haughty nature and obeying His commands out of thankfulness.
My friends, there is only one way that Christians can ever ask or should ever ask that question: “Do you know who I am?” And that one way is if they are prepared to say: “I’m a Christian!” That says it all, doesn’t it?—For it gives all glory to God! Amen