“Who do people say that I am?” asked Jesus of his disciples as they were walking on their travels.
They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ (In other words, they didn’t really know, but they still had an opinion and weren’t afraid to express it!)
‘But what about you?’ Jesus asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’
Sometimes in life we can become defined by what people say about us, who people say that we are. And sometimes, if we are very young when we first hear it, or if we become very hurt by it, or if we hear it too often, we can start to believe it for ourselves. And we can live under a shadow of feeling that nobody really knows the real “me”.
Jesus’ question: But you, who do you say I am? Is the key.
It’s the same whether we are caught up in the maligning of someone else, or whether we are the one maligned by the gossip of others. You. What do you say? Perhaps more correctly, Who do you say that you are?
My mother always told me that I was tall. You’re the tall one, Gill, can you reach that thing off the top shelf. Well, it’s true that I was taller than her, but at 5’3” certainly not tall. But I always believed I was - until one day I saw myself in a photo with my husband, who is 6’1”, and realised that actually I was rather short!
But believing I was tall didn’t do me any harm. Sometimes, though, the things people say about us, and we end up absorbing, can be hurtful, or even harmful. Sometimes they can shape our life and our self worth all our lives.
If you have been hurt or harmed by what people have said about you through your life, God says this to you: “You are precious beyond words. Priceless. Just as you are. I love you - every particle, every fragment, every detail, every smile, every tear; when you feel unloved, when you don’t love me, still I love you. I came for you, I am here for you, always.
And you.... who do you say that you are?