The Truth About You (John 8:21-30)

Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”

This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”

But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”

“Who are you?” they asked.

“Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”

They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many believed in him. (New International Version)

Jesus was an interesting guy – both cagey and confrontational at the same time. He had a way (the way, in fact) that left those who longed for mercy and encouragement to receive it, while also giving rebuke to those satisfied with being stuck in their misguided lives.

This made Christ one of those persons whom you either loved or hated. The people that loved him, adored him; and those that hated him, sought to kill him.

It’s really a matter of self-perception. The ones who tend to self-loathe and wonder if they’re accepted, or not, are the ones who feel on the outside. These are the folks who discover themselves on the inside, accepted by God. And Jesus made it happen for them.

On the other hand, the ones who are enamored with themselves and their superior religion, looking down at others and feeling secure as insiders, are the people who will find they’re actually on the outside looking in; indeed, they will die in their self-delusion.

Our self-identification matters. If identity is tied to what we’re able to do for God, and/or how pious we look for others to see, then our inflated egos will eventually be popped with the pinprick of divine judgment. But if identity is tethered to belonging to God by divine grace and mercy, then we shall know true acceptance.

We need to know the truth about ourselves. Both truth and error are powerful. If we have misguided notions of self, we are like empty wells with no water to draw from. Many of our problems, failures, and shame are largely due to a misunderstanding of the kind of person we are. 

A profound result of this misunderstanding is a lack of self-worth. When we are in error about who we really are, we are severely limited in what we can do in our lives. We can neither solve the problem by comparing ourselves with others nor by trying to generate good feelings about ourselves. Only through accepting what the Holy Scriptures say about us, and responding in faith, can we be truly helped.

So, here are some bedrock truths about us:

  1. We are created in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:16-17)  We begin to understand ourselves by beginning with the creation of the world. Since God is a Person of infinite perfection and goodness, to be created in God’s image means we are persons of great potential and value.
  2. We are special to God. The Lord treats us as persons; therefore, we may not treat ourselves any less than that. To be a person means that we are self-conscious and can make decisions. We also have inherent rights to know, to be heard, to feel, to have an opinion, to be honored, to develop potential, to assume responsibility, and to enjoy life and all creation.
  3. We are loved by God (John 15:9; 17:23) God recognizes us as persons, gives us our rightful place in the divine life, and will do what is right by us. In other words, God has our back. The Lord will not gaslight us.
  4. We are called to a relationship with the loving God (1 Corinthians 1:9) No greater honor could be bestowed on us than to be invited to interact with the Living God. As we do, the door is open so God can minister to us and lead us into the knowledge and practice of a good life.
  5. We are the recipients of divine revelation (Hebrews 1:1-3) Having the Holy Scriptures available to us is the greatest possession we could ever receive. There is nothing more powerful than the truth about God and God’s design for our daily life. Therefore, we commit a profound sin when we neglect and disobey what God has so graciously given us.
  6. We are the objects of divine redemption (Romans 5:8-9) The great evidence of our human worth is the reality that Jesus Christ has secured our redemption from sin, death, and hell. Jesus, the Son of God, has loved us and gave himself for us. (Galatians 2:20)
  7. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) The actual physical temple of the Old Testament was filled with the glory of God. Today, through Christ’s redeeming love on the cross, every believer in Jesus is God’s temple. Therefore, God wants to work in us and through us for to bless and serve the world.

The conclusion to the matter is that the only way we will know true self-worth is to accept what God says about us and respond by faith and love to this loving and redeeming message. You are a person of infinite worth to God, so live into this wonderful truth.

Gracious Creator, blessed all-knowing God, be merciful to upgrade my opinion of myself and my vision for the future so I never feel the need to protect and preserve the past. Show me how to be a faithful steward of the greatness you have placed within me.

Loving Lord, you know everything about me and love me anyway! As I accept and experience your grace and mercy, help me to grasp the depth and perfection of your love as demonstrated by the sacrifice of your only Son, Jesus Christ my Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit are one God, now and forever. Amen.

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