BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
The title for this message is taken from the question that the Jews sent the priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask John the Baptist. They asked him in John 1:19, “Who are you?” (NKJV). John confessed to them that he wasn’t the Christ – the Messiah. Then they questioned him to confirm if he was Elijah but when he said no, they asked if he was “the Prophet” – i.e. the prophet that Moses had predicted in Deuteronomy 18:15 would come. He again said no. Jesus was actually the prophet Moses predicted (John 1:45; Acts 3:22; 7:37).
They pressed John further, saying, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” (John 1:22 NKJV). John replied, “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the LORD’, as the prophet Isaiah said” (verse 23 New King James Version).
John knew who he was
Who are you? Many people today don’t know who they are. Therefore, they’ve allowed other people to give them a wrong description of themselves. They’re living their lives to satisfy the pre-conceived ideas of people about them. They’ve become whom God didn’t make them.
John the Baptist wasn’t confused about who he was. He knew who he was; he also knew who he wasn’t. John knew he wasn’t the Christ, Elijah, or “the Prophet”. He knew he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness: make straight the way of the LORD. Do you know who you are and who you’re not?
If you’re not sure who you are, you may be deceived by liars and flatterers. You may be deluded by those who just want to use you to achieve their selfish purposes. You may even be deceived by agents of the devil sent to lead you astray. That means you won’t fulfil God’s purpose for your life. You will fulfil your destiny in Jesus’ name.
John could have claimed to be the Messiah because the Jews were eagerly awaiting the Messiah and multitudes were already going out to him for baptism (Matthew 3:5-6; Mark 1:5; Luke 3:7). However, before those who questioned John mentioned any name, he told them that he wasn’t the Messiah (the Christ). Many today would have claimed to be the Messiah, particularly if their ministry is well received by the people as John’s ministry was.
Elijah was also a well-respected Old Testament prophet. John also answered the people that he wasn’t Elijah. He also answered them that he was not “the prophet.” John was content to be who God had called him to be: the voice of one crying in the wilderness: make straight the way of the LORD.
If you don’t know who you’re, there are many people ready to tell you who you are, and the likelihood is that they will be wrong as they were wrong concerning John. If John didn’t know who he was, he would have been deceived to believe he was the Christ, Elijah, or the prophet because he was already baptizing many people. How many people today have been confused about who they are even through supposed prophecies?
Those questioning John asked him further: “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” (John 1:25 NKJV). Hear John’s answer: “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose” (John 1:26-27 NKJV). John knew who he was and his assignment.
Who am I?
In Exodus 3, it appears that Moses battled with insecurity caused by what had happened to him in Egypt before he fled. Moses, after being nursed by his Hebrew mother, Jochebed, was raised in the Egyptian palace, probably to become an Egyptian king (Exodus 2:10; Hebrews 11:24-26). Jethro’s seven daughters described him to their father as an Egyptian. “An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and he also drew enough water for us and watered the flock” (Exodus 2:19 NKJV). After Moses murdered an Egyptian, his status changed from being a prince in the palace to a fugitive. He ended up being a shepherd, tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian (Exodus 3:1).
Having been educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22a), probably he was psychologically affected by the work of a shepherd he found himself doing. He could have viewed himself as having fallen from grace to grass. Although the Egyptians, including Pharaoh, had livestock (Genesis 47:16-17, 6), the Bible says, “Every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians” (Genesis 46:34b NKJV). Different interpretations have been given to this scripture. Nevertheless, Moses became a shepherd in Midian where he fled to.
When God called Moses to send him to Pharaoh to bring His people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt, he told God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11 NKJV). This statement has been given different interpretations. Some people believe it shows Moses’ humility. Others believe Moses expressed his weakness, unworthiness, or inadequacy for the job considering his age (80 years), his status as an exile, etc. Moses’ objection is also compared to that of Jeremiah when God called him as a prophet and he told God that he didn’t know how to speak, for he was a child (Jeremiah 1:6). Likewise, it is compared to Gideon’s objection when God called him. He said, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15 New King James Version).
But the different excuses Moses made on why he couldn’t do what God wanted him to do show that he was probably going through an identity crisis caused by his earlier rejection by an Israelite in Egypt.
Acts 7:23-29 captures well this Old Testament story thus: “Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?’ But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?’ Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons” (NKJV). This passage refers to the incident recorded in Exodus 2:11-15.
The Hebrew man who rejected Moses’ intervention asked him, “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?” Moses, probably affected by this rejection, forty years later asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He made four more excuses in Exodus 3:13, 4:1, 10, and 13, which God properly addressed. Despite this, Moses wasn’t ready to carry out the assignment God had for him. In his final excuse, he told God, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send” (Exodus 4:13 New King James Version). This made God angry. However, He assured Moses further that Aaron the Levite, his brother, who was in Egypt, would be his spokesman and He would help both of them speak and teach them what to do. He also told Moses that he should take the rod in his hand and do signs with it (Exodus 4:13-16). Moses eventually agreed to go. His rejection when he was younger and he had wanted to deliver his people might have affected him.
Rejection doesn’t mean you’re a failure
Rejection in the past doesn’t make you a failure. You’re who God says you are, and you can do what God says you can do. A setback is not the end of the road for you. You can make a comeback from your setback. Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). Don’t allow one negative experience or anyone’s judgment to tell you a lie about who you are. Despite what you’re going through or what has happened to you, know who you are. Believe God’s verdict about you and not what circumstances or people are saying.
You are important to God
Who are you? God created you in His image and after His likeness (Genesis 1:26). Do you believe who God says you are or do you need more convincing proof? Man is important to God. This truth is expressed clearly in the Word of God (Psalms 8:4-6; 144:3-4; Hebrews 2:6).
Therefore, there is no reason for any child of God to be battling with a lack of self-worth. Human beings are important but salvation confers greater value on a human being. God gave His Best (Jesus Christ) to save the world (John 3:16).
If you’re born again, you’re a child of God (John 1:12; Galatians 4:7). You’re of great value in the sight of God. You belong to a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation; you’re one of His special people (1 Peter 2:9). You’re not a nobody. You’re somebody. You’re precious to God. The Bible says not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it but you’re more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows (Matthew 10:29, 31). You’re of great value to God. Whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8).
Be whom God calls you
Knowledge of who you are in God is very important for you to become all that God has called you to be. Ignorance of who you are will not allow you to manifest who you truly are. Let me highlight to you, from God’s Word, who you are. You shouldn’t be anything different from who the Bible says you are. This list is not exhaustive.
1. You’re the redeemed of the Lord (Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).
2. You’ve been made right with God – you’re God’s righteousness in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).
3. You’re an overcomer (1 John 4:4; 2:13; 5:4).
4. You’re more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14).
5. You’re blessed (Ephesians 1:3).
6. You’re a god (representative of God) and child of the Most High (John 10:34; Psalms 82:6; 115:16; Genesis 1:26, 28).
7. You’re the salt of the earth and the light of the world. As salt, you should be a seasoning and preservative agent in the world (Matthew 5:13-14). Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (NKJV). As light, you should illuminate your world, especially through your good works (Matthew 5:16).
8. You’re the friend of Jesus if you do whatever He commands and His brother/sister if you do His will (John 15:14-15, Luke 6:46-48; Matthew 12:50).
9. You are the temple of God. The Spirit of God dwells in you. Therefore, don’t defile the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16).
10. You belong to Christ (1 Corinthians 3:23; Romans 14:8; 2 Corinthians 10:7; Galatians 3:29).
11. You are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).
Conclusion: Don’t allow the devil to inflict you with a lack of self-worth because of life’s challenges. Know who you are in God. When Abraham had no child, God called Abraham the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). Also, during the period Gideon and the other Israelites were hiding in caves and dens from the Midianites, the angel of the Lord called Gideon a man of valour or mighty hero (Judges 6:2, 12). Call yourself what God calls you, not what your situation calls you.
If you’re not born again, you should also know who you are: a sinner. You’re God’s creature but not yet a child of God. You need to give your life to Jesus. Surrender your life to Jesus today.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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