The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, “Let thy feet be Washed: meditations on foot washing.”
Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew that His hour was come, that He should He should depart out of this world unto the Father having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands.
Who are you?
It’s a simple enough question is it not?
Who are you?
It’s a question that seeks information regarding ones identity; it is also a question, that will solicit different responses depending of course to whom it is asked. However, the one common denominator no matter who is asked and what seems to be universal to all men; will be to answer with ones name.
One of the biggest plagues confronting the church today is her identity.
Who are you?
Jesus stated in the gospel of John” … that by this (i.e. love) shall all men know that ye are my disciple. “John 13:35
Instead, people know us by our denominational affiliation, our adherence to creeds and doctrines; weather or not we utilize instruments in praise and worship, or by what formula we use to baptize believers? We are conservative, liberal, Christian, atheist, Muslim, agnostic, Catholic, American, African-American, Latino, and a host of other descriptors.
This issue of identity has been a struggle for some especially those within the black community as the struggle over which descriptor best answers the question of, “who are you”?
Likewise, the church has struggled in its answer of who she is. Are we Catholic, Unitarian, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Baptist, and a host of other denominational names.
The question of identity is of such importance that we will assist children at a young age in learning how to pronounce their name. Many a parent will smile with glee when a child can not just say “mommy” or “daddy” but can with recognition respond, and recite their own name.
So the question remains.
Who are you?
Currently there is a multicultural emphasis in American that is seeking to assist us in understanding our individual identity. This emphasis would seek to instruct us that we do not have one identity but several.
“They” say that our identity consists of our gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, class, and political affiliation? The “multiculturalists”, would seek to explain our identity against the backdrop of oppression, victimization, and the privileged vs. the non privileged.
Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew that His hour was come, that He should He should depart out of this world unto the Father having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him. Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands. That He had come from God and went to God. He riseth from supper and laid aside His garment, and took a towel and girded Himself.
What we do, who we affiliate with and a multitude of other actions can be derived from answering this simple question.
Who are you?
Who we are addresses the issue of our identity. Identity or rather the question who am I; is one of the most fundamental questions anyone can ever ask themselves.
The Merriam Webster’s online dictionary gives several definitions for the word identity.
1 a: sameness of essential or generic character in different instances b: sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing : oneness
3: the condition of being the same with something described or asserted <establish the identity of stolen goods>
4: an equation that is satisfied for all values of the symbols
Other synonyms for identity help us
Identity. (n.d.). Roget’s New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1). Retrieved October 16, 2007, from Thesaurus.com website: http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/Identity
For the purposes of this work I want to use definition two. In other words Jesus knew who he was in character, personality parentage, status and uniqueness. He knew who he was related and connected with. This information helped him, stabilized him and can help and stabilize us as well. When the answers to these questions are in error or not known, abuse of ones self and others is destined to occur. (Hosea 4:6, John 8:32, 2 Tim 2:25)
Statistics of the world bear this out. Erik Homburger Erikson (June 15, 1902 – May 12, 1994) was a Germandevelopmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on social development of human beings, and for coining the phrase identity crisis. He believed that the identity crisis is the most important conflict human beings encounter when they go through eight developmental stages in life.
Scripture at least affirms the power that an identity crisis can have.
The answer to this question becomes even more important when you are experiencing life altering events; when the circumstances of life come against us. When the Devil attacks it is important that one not develop amnesia during such a time.
The issue of who we are is not only something that we as Christians have to deal with but its something that also Jesus himself had to resolve.
Yes Jesus too had to deal with identity issues. It is one thing for parents and well wishers to know who you are and what they might want for you. It’s an entire thing all together for you to know that for yourself.
Let us examine the scripture and see what insight we might glean from them.
Here in the book of the Gospel according to John we are at a unique time where Jesus is in the beginning stages of what’s referred to as His “passion.” He’s at the table eating with his disciples and he finalizes the last things in preparation to be crucified. The Scripture says that this preparation occurred prior to the feast of the Passover.
And it is here at this crucial point in the life of Jesus, that some things were revealed to Him.
It is clear from the scripture that knowledge or an conscious awareness or resignation of reality had come into the mind of Jesus Christ.
This new sum of information is made clear in verse 3, that, “He knows that the Father has given all things into His hands.”
Here we come to a crucial turning point in the ministry of Jesus. A turning point where the Son of God acquires or at least articulates the revelation and fact that all things have been given into His hands.
Now often we read the Bible too quickly so I would admonish you to allow this to sink in and germinate in your spirit and imagination.
Jesus realizes that there is nothing that is with holden from him.
There is nothing he can’t possess.
There is no power capable of stopping any and or all desires he would set his mind to.
He has been given authority from God the father and the power to accomplish whatever his heart desires.
He becomes the boss, the head honcho the big cheese.
Has this sunk in yet?
Now keep all this in mind because not only does he realize this. He boldly proclaims this to those that are within earshot. He communicates this truth to his disciples, and wants them to understand the nature of this power.
Before I go on let me ask you a question.
What would you do if you had the ability to do anything you want?
What would you change?
Who would you impact?
Think of the authority are your disposal; to change any and all things; to have the means at your disposal to carry out your hearts desire; weather for good or for evil. Nothing was withheld from you. “All things had been given into your hands”. He had something to offer the world and he was ready to deliver it!
This is where Jesus was in his ministry on earth. The pinnacle of what most of us would consider success. He had it all!
And it’s at this point in time, that with the understanding of this revelation, this ascertainment of illumination; that He does something that totally shocks the disciples that are around Him.
He washes the disciple’s feet.
Here’s some food for thought.
1) Do you know the meaning of your name? If not find out what it means, and why were you given that name.
2) What is your family history? Go back at least three generations, and learn about the lives of your parents and grand parents. What were some of their most notable accomplishments, some of their weaknesses’, strengths, who were their contemporaries? What was going on in the world at the time and how did they interact with those events?
3) What is your personality profile? Take a temperament test such as the MBTI (Meyers Briggs Temperament Indicator) and discover more about yourself, and how God has “hardwired” you. There are many free tests one can take on the internet.
4) What are your Career interests, extracurricular activities, subjects of interests?
5) Who has influence in your life? This is one of the most powerful questions one could ever ask. To help you answer that question; ask yourself this. Whom would you not want to disappoint? Whom do you go to for advice and counsel? Who holds your secrets? Whose untimely death would leave you crushed? This person or persons whoever they are; are probably key people in your life that you’ve invested a portion of your self esteem. If they think negative about you. You think negative about you.
If you found this blog post enjoyable please stay tuned for more on this subject in the weeks ahead. I also want to encourage yo to enjoy my fiction writing. If you have ever wondered about the fall of Lucifer and how he became who we know today as Satan. I want to invite you to take the time to check out my novel.