Read: Mark 8:27 |
In September of 1910 in a quiet Chicago neighborhood, Clarence Hiller had spent the day painting his house. By early evening, everyone was fast asleep. In the middle of the night, they heard a noise and Clarence went to investigate why the gas light near his daughter’s room had gone out. As he came to her door, he saw an intruder. A fight broke out with two gunshots fired. Mrs. Hiller got to the room to find her husband dead at the foot of the stairs with blood everywhere.
The police arrested Thomas Jennings, a convicted burglar who lived less than a mile down the street from the Hillers. When they picked him up, they noted the blood on his clothes, which he said, was a result of falling off a streetcar. Complicating things, in his pocket, the police found the same kind of gun used to shoot Clarence Hiller. Nevertheless, they could not determine if it was the murder weapon. You see, in those days–they needed more evidence, but from where?
So the detectives returned to the Hiller’s home to search for more clues. They found that the killer entered the house through a rear kitchen window. As they followed the trail, they noticed something imprinted in the wet wall paint – four clear fingerprints from someone’s left hand.
What is amazing about this story is this crime was the first one where police used a fingerprint to convict a person of a crime – and it worked! Thomas Jennings was convicted of the terrible crime because of leaving his fingerprints at the scene of the crime!
Our fingerprints uniquely identify us. Even identical twins do not have the same fingerprints. Fingerprints reveal our presence. Whenever we touch something, we leave a uniquely identifiable print that we were there. Spiritually, where have I left my spiritual fingerprints? What do my fingerprints say about me? This week we will review “Who am I?” to answer these questions. Next week, we will review “Whose am I?”
Who am I?
The question “Who am I” leads to a hall of mirrors as we gaze inwards. Looking past the surface answers of our name, age, occupation, the question really asks for a definition of our character and intent. What we do, how we spend our time and how we act, define our character and intent. For examples let us turn to the OT and NT. There we can find that God changed the names of several saints. The name changes coincided with a life change that made them an entirely different person, they had a new identity. Some examples include Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, and Saul to Paul. When they answered God’s call, they became a new creation in Christ. Who I am changes as we get to know the great “I AM”.
I can imagine that hearing their new name each day reminded them of who they were and whose they were. The book of Revelations, notes in Rev 2:17, that we also receive a new name. According to the scholars, we will discover our new name when we get to Heaven.
Who do people say that I am??
When Jesus was walking and talking with the disciples, he asked repeatedly, “Who do people say that I am?” (Mark 8:27), “Who do the crowds say that I am?” (Luke 9:18), and “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). Jesus knew that He was widely recognized in Israel as a mighty man of God. People said he was a prophet, John the Baptist, Elijah, or Jeremiah. The imprints of His touch changed the hearts of anyone He met. His ministry and His message clearly pointed out that He was God, especially to those who saw Him every day.
His question of “Who am I?” was not a riddle to be solved, but a fact to be discovered and experienced. Jesus wanted an interim assessment. He also wanted to see how His disciples were processing His ministry and message in their hearts and minds. Peter understood and replied correctly.
We are set apart for His purpose. The more we walk in our divine identity and in His divine ways, the more we will enjoy God’s blessing and shine the light of Jesus to a lost world. Our identity should never be secret like Superman and Clark Kent. Our identity should be identifiable as a child of the King – the Lion of Judah. Who am I? I am yours. I am yours, Lord God. I am yours!
1. Discover – How would you answer the below:
A. Who do you say that Jesus is to you?
B. Who are you?
2. Develop – What Jesus said and did each day demonstrated His identity. It told who He was. He left His spiritual fingerprints everywhere He went.
A. Does what we do and say each day identify you as a child of the King or something less flattering and eternal?
B. Are your spiritual fingerprints obvious in the lives you touch each day.
3. Demonstrate –
A. Read the poem “Who am I” (click on link) or review the lyrics of Stephen Curtis Chapman – Fingerprints of God (Link to lyrics) or the lyrics of Casting Crown – Who am I? (link)
B. What is your favorite stanza or verse and why?
C. Has following God made you a totally new creation? How do you demonstrate your identity?
Poem – http://kirstys-poems.blogspot.com/2006/12/who-am-i.html