Matthew 16:13-20 – IDENTITY THEFT!

Posted: September 19, 2013 in Matthew, Matthew 16
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
IDENTITY THEFT - Photo  by Rachel Bennett and adjusted by Ross Cochrane

IDENTITY THEFT – Photo by Rachel Bennett and adjusted by Ross Cochrane

Is He worried about identity theft when He tells His friends not to let anyone know who He really is? (Matthew 16:20). If so, He’s wise. He should be concerned. Phishing is a problem today. We all get pop-up advertisements and spam emails trying to get our personal information. Is He just playing it safe; watching for Shoulder Surfers trying to steal His pin codes? Is it that He doesn’t want others Skimming His personally identifying information, His full name or credit card number, without His permission? Is He afraid they might try to use His identity to commit a crime against Him? In the light of the crucifixion that makes sense.

It’s obvious that Jesus is a good target for identity theft. He has unlimited resources at His disposal, but unless I get to know Him personally my database will not give me enough information to use practically. I will still not know Him. An identity thief must have accurate information. Lately, I’ve been searching through His mail to source His ID info; His statements, offers, distinguishing bits of information, etc. It’s there for all to see. After reading what He posts, I am able to get His personal data. It’s quite a revelation.

I remember that time in my own life when I first came to a knowledge of who Jesus was. I didn’t have to search through His trash. He had none, but I did have to search through mine. In doing so I found out about my own shortcomings and longed to change my identity. It happened on a Christmas day. It was an “Ah Ha!” moment. I discovered identifying evidence of who Jesus is. That revelation changed my life forever. Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT) says “If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.”

An exchange took place that day as I surrendered my old life to Him. I was born again and I took on a new identity. I exchanged my sin for His righteousness. I didn’t work for it, earn it or deserve it in any way. But it was credited to my account. I was living on His credit card. My malicious software (sin) stole His life and grace gave me mine. He paid the price for me. He picked up the tab at the Cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) says “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Galatians 2:20 (NLT) says “… It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” “… the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17 NLT).

When Jesus asks His disciples “Who do others say that I am?” He thinks it is important for them to know what people like me say about Him? Not so they can judge me, and force their beliefs on me. Their task is to recognise false beliefs about Christ and share God’s Word so that faith could be stirred; give His perspective, enabling me the opportunity to respond to what God is saying; to come to my own conclusions based upon what God is revealing to me. God’s Holy Spirit leads me into His Truth and brings me from an inadequate understanding of Christ to that exciting discovery of my new identity in Him.

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) says “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has CREATED US ANEW in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” 1 Peter 1:23 (NLT) says “For you have been BORN AGAIN, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.” 1 John 5:11 (NLT) says “… this life is in His Son.” 2 Corinthians 5:13-15 (NLT) says “…He died for everyone so that those who receive HIS NEW LIFE will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.”  

The invitation Jesus gives you today is to come to a knowledge of Him, not by His followers hammering away at you, but by revelation from God Himself and His Truth as you respond personally to Christ in faith. You can only come to this point as the Holy Spirit opens up your understanding to the truth of who He is (John 16:13). When Peter gave voice to Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus said “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because My Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being” (Matthew 16:17 NLT).

Barabbas wasn’t the only one who was exchanged for Jesus on the day of His crucifixion. I was too! Jesus paid the punishment for my sin. The innocent Son of God was indicted on my behalf. Jesus died but the exciting thing is that He invites us to exchange His righteousness for our sin. He has given us freely His identity and we have the resources of heaven at our disposal. Ephesians 1:3-5 (NLT) says that God “…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are UNITED WITH CHRIST.” Philippians 1:20-21 (NIV) says “… For to me, TO LIVE IS CHRIST and to die is gain.” IDENTITY THEFT? Not really. Identity exchange. He freely offers us the identity for which we are created. 

Pastor Ross

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Comments
  1. lifextwo says:

    You never cease to astound me with your creative expression of God’s mysteries. Brilliant! xxx

    Like

  2. jjooss123 says:

    praise God!.. your awesome, man of God! (:

    Like

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