Bible refs: 2 Corinthians 5 vv 17-21; John 13 v 3; 1 Peter 2 v 9
Similar clips: Hook – I know you’re in there
Location of clip: 12 mins 58 secs mins to 17 mins 10 secs
Jason Bourne wakes up in a fishing boat with two bullets in his back and a number buried on a capsule in his leg. He has no idea who he is or where he’s come from. He sets off to find himself (literally) and discovers that he must find out his true identity if he is to survive. Unknown killers are on his trail; and things are looking very bad.
Jason enters a Swiss bank in search of the safety deposit bearing the number he found in his leg. When he finds this and opens it he discovers that he has an awful lot of money, some guns and ammo and a dozen different identities. He is any number of people and has several different nationalities. He has narrowed the field but still has no real idea of who he is or where he’s come from.
When Jesus knelt in the dust to clean the muck and the grime from the disciples’ feet he knew who he was. He was secure in his identity and his place in the world. The knowledge freed him up, he didn’t need anyone else to tell him he was the king of the world.
The Bible describes us in terms that seem almost laughable. Apparently I have royal blood, I’m holy, and I’m pure and faultless. Try telling my wife that! We live with two realities, don’t we? Our place in the universe and our place in the heavenly realm. I don’t understand this, and I do think there is a danger of using it for spiritual escapism. This life is tough so let’s just imagine ourselves somewhere else nice and holy. But it doesn’t mean that. Let’s face it, I’m sat here in Devon in my pyjamas, surrounded by chaos and boxes, not seated in some other realm somewhere.
It was Moses who first coined the phrase about being different. He recorded this message to the people from God in Exodus blog post 19:
‘Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the nations of the earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be to me a kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’
Peter, Jesus’s best mate, then remixed it and wrote it for us now.
‘And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.’
This is very much about being God’s reps on earth now. The temple was thought of as God’s home on earth. Well, says Pete, people are now God’s home on earth. people viewed by God as precious, holy, different, unique.
The Bible does not take the line that the spiritual and physical should be separated out, far from it, it claims that the two are deliberately and inextricably linked. Instead it suggests that our place in God’s sight can help us find our place in our own eyes.
Jesus always held lightly to the praise others gave him, no doubt he appreciated affirmation and was hurt by accusation, but ultimately he was clear about the person God had made him. He came from his father and was headed back there, and along with that, he was king of the universe. This liberated him from two things. One – the constant need for others to affirm him, and two – the search to find himself. In John 13 we are told that Jesus knew he had come from God, was going back there, and had complete authority on this earth. He probably discovered a lot about this three years earlier in his desert experience, we often find ourselves in the dark dry places.
Did this knowledge of who he really was make him seek a life of privilege? Not at all. It enabled him to bend down beside cruddy, smelly feet and carefully wash them clean. A job usually done by unclean gentile slaves. The lowest.
Knowing who he was turned Jesus into a servant. And this incident was not long after he had ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey while crowds had hailed him king. If that was me it would have gone to my head. But not Jesus, he probably enjoyed the palm Sunday moment, but he didn’t base his identity on the cries of a crowd. Jesus was not fooled by the X Factor moment.
1. What defines you? Where do you get your identity?
2. Do you get glimpses, as Jesus did, that you have come from God and are going back to him? Are there others who have helped you see this reality?
3. Have you ever been lifted by the applause of others, and then struggled because of it later on?
4. Have you ever lost your sense of identity – perhaps through moving house, changing jobs, becoming a parent, retiring, getting married or divorced or widowed?
5. Did the clip make you think about anything else?