When you think about it, identity is a big issue. In fact it might be safe to go so far as to say that identity is the big issue.
Identity of Jesus
When He was walking around on Earth 2,000 years ago people struggled with Jesus’ identity. He was saying and doing such amazing things that they knew He wasn’t exactly normal.
But beyond that most folks couldn’t decide if He was a good teacher, a prophetic speaker, a fiery preacher, God in the flesh, or spawn of Satan. The opinions on Him ranged all across the board.
In fact, when things came to a head those who wanted to get Jesus out of the way tried to trump up some charges of criminal behavior. But when the witnesses they had ended up contradicting each other they came up with another plan.
Now claiming to be God is a pretty out outrageous thing to do. Could He back that claim up?
Checking Against Prophesies
The scriptures that were available in that day, what we now call the Old Testament, had several hundred specific prophesies or predictions about the one who would be God come to Earth to save mankind. (Sounds a little bit like Neo in the Matrix, eh?)
If I claimed to be God it would be an easy thing to compare my life against those prophesies. While it is possible that my life might meet one or two of those purely by chance, it wouldn’t take long to conclude that no, I am not God.
Seems like a pretty straight forward formality. Makes me wonder why they didn’t do that in the case of Jesus.
Of course, if they had they would have found that his life fit close to 300 of those prophesies. And bringing that to light would have been a little, um, awkward after all the nasty stuff they had been saying about Jesus up to that point.
So they didn’t check into His claims, because let’s face it, what are the odds, right?
Killed Over an Identity Problem
In the end they couldn’t find any crime that He committed. Heck, they couldn’t even frame Him of any crimes, though they sure tried.
They had Jesus killed because of who He was, not because of what He did.
That has implications for us today.
Identity vs Actions
For us it boils down to our identity just it did like with Jesus. If you’ve ever traveled to a foreign country you’ve got an idea what’s in store whenever you make the transition from this life to the next.
When you get to a new country and go through immigration there are 2 lines. One is for citizens of that country and the other is for everyone else.
You get in the proper line, with your passport in hand so you can prove your identity to the official. And you’ll have to answer different questions depending on which line you are in.
The Bible says that when you get to Heaven the line you have to get in depends on who you thought Jesus was before you got there, before you die. One line will be for citizens of Heaven and the other is for everyone else.
Those two lines will have very different sets of questions to answer.
And it all first boils down to our identity, and where our citizenship lies. What we do comes after that.