From the time our children first raise their heads on their own, they begin pulling away from us. They are seeking to answer a question that will nag at them through most of their lives…Who Am I? When we are safe in our parents arms, we know ourselves as their child. Out in the world we can feel lost in the largeness. Who am I then? We embark on education and seek to find an answer to “Who Am I?” We find jobs and build careers and get even more answers to the nagging question. We find mates and build families and the answers change…once we were child and now we are parent helping to answer for our children who they are which, in turn, helps answer our own question, for a season at least. Then, at life’s twilight, we are alone with the same question we first asked as an infant…”Who Am I?”
I struggle with the question of who I am. I have known life as the first born of Will and Carol Newman. I have known life as the poor, country boy who learned early how to grow vegetables and cut acres of grass. I learned how to split wood and tend the fire to keep us warm in winter months. I made the grades and earned the scholarships to graduate debt free from two private schools which gave me a few letters to put behind the name of Will and Carol’s boy. Still, who am I? I am a parent to Joshua and Eli and a husband to Jeana. I have pastored in LaGrange, Angier, Greenville, Holly Springs and now at Asbury Church here in Raleigh. Each place has given me answers, but each is not quite complete. Still I ask, “Who am I?”
How do you answer the question of who you are? Which answers fit for now and which answers will fit for a lifetime or longer? How do you know the answers you have are the right answers?
For me, my ultimate identity isn’t found in where I’ve been or what I do. I need a deeper, more foundational answer to sustain me through life’s ebb and flow. I brought this nagging question to my faith and found I wasn’t the only one asking. Jesus asked his disciples about his identity. Only, he came at the question from a totally different place than you or I do. I am sure that Jesus knew who he was…who he had always been and always would be. I think he asked because he knew we are asking too…and we’d need a rock solid answer one day. In Luke chapter 9, it was Peter who blurted out the answer, and I keep coming back to Peter, and his answer.
It is December and the eyes of the world turn to Jesus. We decorate our homes and buy gifts to give. We give more to charity now than at any other time of the year and it has something to do with Jesus. For all this activity, do we know who Jesus is? This is important to me because knowing who Jesus is creates the framework for how I can know who I am…and whose I am. For this reason, it is critical that we all know who Jesus is so that we can better answer who we are and whose we are.
This whole month we are answering the question “Who is Jesus?” Each week we’ll take a different perspective and explore what that tells us about the one Peter proclaimed “Messiah” and “Holy One of God.” I want you to come to Asbury each week (or view online) as we explore who Jesus was and is and forever will be. Just as I once knew myself as Will and Carol’s boy, I now know my best answer for who I am is found in being Jesus’ disciple. I think you’ll say the same thing. See you Sunday!
Peace & Partnership,
Tom, Lead Pastor