Identity is important. Who you are matters to you. I am known by most folk in Brechin as Jon.
A few folk call me Reverend Bergen, some Pastor and some names that we don’t usually put in public press. The reality is that my full name is Jonathan though the only one that calls me that is one of my aunties and an uncle.
But because of that, I’m Jon - no ‘H’... it is part of my identity. Am I over fussed if someone puts an ‘H’ in my name? Not really, I’ve learned to live with it. But as you can imagine if it shows up I know it isn’t someone that knows me well.
My name is an important part of my identity. Yours is to you as well. Our identity matters to us, how people respond to our identity matters and tells us a lot about our relationship to us. If folk call from a call centre and pronounce your name wrong they are off to a bad start.
I’m terrible with names. I don’t do too badly with faces and once I get your story sorted in my thick skull I got it. Now once I get your name you are stuck with it for forever. Ruth has a cousin, who if I mind right is really Tamara, but she was introduced to me as ‘Sid’ which was her family name because her big sister couldn’t say sister at two years old. So Sid will always be Sid to me. Her identity to me is what it is - Sid, cousin of Ruth.
Well, we are doing our kids mission this week and the first verse for the children to learn was Matthew 16:16 which was Peter’s answer to Jesus’ question. Peter declared: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Previous to that Jesus had already asked: “Who do men say that I am?”
The replies had been some say you are John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. These were interesting answers since all those named were dead. John the Baptist not very long, and Jesus had been baptised by John. The others were long dead, at least 400 years so it seems odd to me that they suggested that Jesus was a dead guy.
Jesus asked his disciples; Who do you say that I am? The whole conversation reminds me that it is important that we get Jesus identity right. I’ve been told that Jesus was a good man, a great teacher and also some interesting other answers. But the answer Peter gave was “you are the Christ...” This word Christ we might also understand to mean Messiah. The one who would come to rescue the people from their bad situation, to change their lives for the better.
Sure that was who he was but not in the way they expected. He didn’t free them from the Romans at that time. Jesus had a different way he was to free them.
But even now all these years later we also must take a moment of time to decide what we might think or understand Jesus’ identity to be. And what is our identity as God knows us? That is perhaps another interesting question for us to think about.
So here is me,
Rev. Jon Bergen
Brechin Baptist Fellowship
But you can just call me Jon.