“Who are you?” they demanded. … So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he.” - John 8:25, 28
For the majority of this year, we’ve been moving through Matthew’s gospel. One of the things to always remember about Matthew is that he is very concerned with proving to his Jewish readers that Jesus is the Messiah; primarily by showing that Jesus fulfills Old Testament prophecy regarding the Messiah.
For Matthew, it’s all about answering the question posed above in John: “Who are you?” Matthew has the answer, and he gives all sorts of reasons why he does. Yet when people asked this question of Jesus himself, he very seldom if ever (depending on which gospel you read) gave an answer. And when he does, it often doesn’t go well.
When he goes home to Nazareth and tells his community in his home synagogue that the scripture from Isaiah he reads has been fulfilled in their hearing they want to throw him off a cliff. When the Scribes and Pharisees ask him, his answer moves the High Priest to tear his garment in two and leads to his beating, torture, and crucifixion
Sometimes sharing our true selves with people can be a risky endeavor.
Just look at what happens too often on social media when people share their true minds and hearts on any given issue: they get torn to shreds by those who think differently. Our inability to accept people for who they are and why they’re who they are is tearing the fabric of our communities apart, and it is something that troubles me deeply.
One of the wonderful things about the Kingdom of God is that we are all able to truly be who we are without fear of being judged, belittled, or diminished. That is a central reason why we are an Open and Affirming Church; to model the idea that all are welcome, affirmed, and loved in the Family of God as their true and authentic selves.
Being You isn’t always easy, but it’s exactly who God wants you to be.
Creator God, thank you for creating us just the way we are. May we always affirm and be affirmed as such.