“WHO AM I?” – THE DNA OF A GROWING CHRISTIAN (MATTHEW 16:13-19)
November 26th 2023
In our culture, there’s a prevailing encouragement to search within ourselves for answers to the profound question, “Who am I?” Typically, we tend to seek our human identity through various avenues instinctively. A natural starting point is exploring our biological makeup and familial connections, delving into the intricacies of our DNA. Beyond that, our focus often extends to measures of success and accomplishments, encompassing our stature, reputation, academic achievements, career, financial standing, marital status, and more.
While achievements like success, fortune, power, and physical appearance serve as robust foundations, they are, by nature, temporary and susceptible to change. Relying solely on these temporary aspects may lead to misunderstanding our true identity. True identity is found in Christ.
Identifying oneself solely with a job may prompt a review during a job loss. Associating identity with celebrity status makes one susceptible to reputation damage from a single piece of gossip. What we commonly call identity in this world is not a fixed, permanent state but a temporal, changeable aspect of our existence.
In the quest to answer the question “WHO AM I,” it’s imperative that your identity in God isn’t just one aspect but the foundational core of your being. The journey of self-discovery of your authentic identity begins with understanding the role of Jesus in your life. Your identity, as defined by God, shapes who you are. It does not depend on your self-perception or the opinions of others; instead, it is grounded in what God declares about you.
EXPOSITION OF MATTHEW 16:13-19
People regard Jesus as an ordinary man born by Mary and Joseph because that is how they know him. They did not know his true identity. The title ‘The Son of Man’ highlighted Jesus’ humanity.
Matthew 16:13 “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
Matthew 16:14, The disciples provided four different answers regarding the identity of Jesus as perceived by the people:
- John the Baptist: Some associated Jesus with John the Baptist, possibly due to their biological connection.
- Elijah: Another belief is that Jesus was Elijah, a renowned prophet in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This association stemmed from Elijah’s reputation for performing miracles in God’s name, leading people to perceive Jesus as continuing a divine mission guided by God.
- Jeremiah: The disciples suggested that Jesus might be identified with Jeremiah, a prophet with a significant following.
- One of the Prophets: Some categorised Jesus as one of the prophets. However, up to this point in His ministry, the true identity of Jesus has yet to be known.
In Matthew 16:15, Jesus poses a crucial question to His disciples: “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” This inquiry emphasises His interest in their understanding of His true identity. Simon Peter responds undoubtedly in verse 16, declaring, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” In verse 17, Jesus acknowledges Peter’s confession, attributing it not to mere human understanding but to divine revelation. Jesus responded, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood but by my Father in heaven.” This moment highlights the significance of spiritual insight in recognising Jesus for who He truly is—the divine Messiah, the Son of the living God. Encountering Jesus through the natural realm provides only a partial understanding of His essence, falling short of His true identity. Jesus wants us to know Him in Spirit and truth.
In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus declares to Peter, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Peter initially identified himself as a fisherman. Despite his former role, he was destined to become a fisher of men. This transformation reflects a common human tendency to adopt false identities, finding pride in them. However, encountering Jesus has the profound power to unveil our authentic identity as Children of God, bearing heavenly DNA. As emphasised in John 1:12-13, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” This revelation highlights the divine essence incorporated into our true identity as children of the living God.
This is the DNA of a growing Christian.