Testing Who(se) I Am
March 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
The tempter in the scene of Jesus’ temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11) tests Jesus’ true identity. In three different ways, the tempter tests Jesus with a “If you are the Son of God…” Henri Nouwen, in his well-known book “In the Name of Jesus”, calls these three ways the temptation to be relevant (to turn stones into bread), to be spectacular (to throw himself off the temple), and to be powerful (to take all the kingdoms of the world). But Jesus refuses to be seduced into being someone who He is not supposed to be as the Son of God. The Son of God was not called to be a relevant, spectacular, powerful force in Himself, but to be obedient to the will of the Father. During this season of Lent that just started we are yet again going to discover how the identity of the Son of God was exactly the opposite of these characteristics. Instead, who Jesus is cannot be established in Himself, but only in and through whose He is. The same apply to us as God’s children. Our Christian identity is determined in relationship to God. Who we are is determined by who we belong to. The temptation to adopt false identities that are shaped through a focus on the self is huge. And yet again, we are given the opportunity this Lent to rediscover our identity as belonging to and shaped by the One who revealed Himself in the cross of Jesus.