Identity & Authority

“What are you up to, lately?” or “What do you do?” Holiday parties and family gatherings. Meeting new people and catching up with folks we haven’t seen in a while. Often a little awkward. Hopefully fun. Painful at times.

How do we define ourselves? By our connections. By what we do. And how do we categorize others? Organize them in our mind and our memory. Our brains demand that we define. Put people in their places. Hopefully write the label on our own box.

The first book of the New Testament begins by orienting us:

A record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, son of David, son of Abraham: Matthew 1:1

Matthew is helpful. We all come from somewhere. The ancestors are important. Both for granting legitimacy and for deviating from expectations. The women were foreigners. Prostitutes. Or posing as such. Wives of other men. 

Was genealogy how Jesus defined himself? Our answers depend on who’s asking. Sometimes we name our relationships, by blood and marriage. Why we were invited to the party. Without being defensive.

When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and elders of the people came to him as he was teaching. They asked, “What kind of authority do you have for doing these things? Who gave you this authority?” Mt. 21:23 (CEB)

Jesus expanded issue. It’s not just about me. What about my cousin John the Baptizer? Living a totally different lifestyle from me. Can we both be from God?

And what about you? Your identity and authority. What are your motives? To find truth, or try to trap? Wisdom is proved right by all her various children. (Mt. 11:19)

As we prepare for family gatherings, people often revert to childhood roles. Expectations and assumptions collide. We need to remember who we are. What is your identity? Who are you? Child of God. Co-heir with Jesus.

May we understand our roots. Know our history. May we embrace the ways our lives deviate from prescribed roles. May we be secure in our identity. Not defensive of our authority. May our answers and interactions flow from being children of Wisdom. 

-RenéeBulletin: 12/15
Order of Service: 12/15
Sermon: Learning to Listen: Zachariah’s Second Chance

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