Identity Crisis


September 28, 2016

John 8


What was she thinking?  Why was she involved in adultery?  Who was the man and why was he involved?  Struggling marriages?  Pressures and stress of survival?  Simply seeking physical pleasure in someone else’s arms?

And how about those Jewish men with their stones?  Did they know this woman?  Had they “known” this woman?  Were they really trying to be obedient to the Law of Moses while they were trying to trap Jesus in using His words against Him?

As John 8 continues, the Pharisees and Jesus go back and forth in a heated exchange.  Jesus criticizes their dependency on being children of Abraham.  Jesus even goes so far as to say their father is the devil! (v.44)  Imagine such statements being said at our presidential debate!  Our candidates try to show they are the best for the nation based on their experience and vision.  Jesus is doing something greater . . . and far more truthful.

The basis of the heated exchange between Jesus and the Jews dealt with identity; His and theirs.  Jesus testifies about Himself and also states that God the Father testifies about Him as well.  What is the testimony?  Jesus said it simply and straight forward, “I am the Light of the World.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (v. 12)

The Jews were having an identity crisis.  The woman caught in adultery must have been having one too.  But Jesus? No crisis to be found.  Jesus makes powerful claims about Himself.  He doesn’t have a demon, as they supposed. (vv 48-49)  He stands with the Father who sent Him. (v. 16b)  Jesus even states that before Abraham existed, Jesus was in existence. (v. 58)

As I sit here reflecting on these passages, I am forced to deal with the question, like the disciples were asked by Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?”  It’s a question of identity.  Do I put my trust in my lineage?  My ancestry? Do I put my trust in my ability to live a righteous life?   Like the sinful woman (and the Pharisees), I too could have stones thrown at me.  I am sinful in thought, word and deed.  There is no hope in me alone…but in Christ, the Light of the World that lives in me.  He makes me new.  Forgiven and Free.  Jesus has cleansed me of my sin and as He says in vv. 31-32, He is making me free!  Not because of my ability to hold on to His word, as if I’m so strong.  It is because of His mercy I remain in His Word.  It’s His desire that I do.  I trust His word which calls me to repentance; trusting that His word says, “I love you and forgive you.”  This is the word to which I cling as my eyes look to the hill some 2,000 years ago where the Son of Man was lifted up. (v. 28)  It is there, at the cross, where I see His identity and fulfillment of God’s promise and hope for this world!

PRAYERMy Heavenly Father, without You, we all have an identity crisis.  Strengthen me to know who I am and who’s I am.  I am Yours.  Amen. 

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