Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Here's a little something I wrote for a magazine that KEYY advertises in, which goes to senior citizens in Utah Valley...

It was an unfortunate case of mistaken identity.

I was 11 years old and was shopping in a Pamida store, when I found something to show my brother. He didn't come when I called. Since I could see him from the corner of my eye, I knew he was ignoring me. "Tim!" I said again, "Look at this!" Annoyed when he still didn't respond, I walked toward him. He was bent over, facing away from me, the seat of his pants temptingly within reach of my foot.

I like to think I didn't kick; I prefer to recall it as a slight tap with the toe of my shoe. Regardless, my brother jumped and spun around with a breathless "Excuse me?"—except it wasn't my brother. It was a middle-aged woman in a blue Pamida smock. My brother was two aisles away, I discovered as I ran toward the door, my face flaming.

Embarrassing, to say the least. I have never entered that Pamida since, afraid the woman in the blue smock will recognize the source of her recurrent nightmares.

Sometimes mistaken identity isn't so funny; sometimes it goes far beyond mere embarrassment.

In Matthew 16, Jesus asked His disciples what people were saying about Him. They replied, "Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets."

Talk about mistaken identity! Some Israelites were convinced Jesus was a man who had died centuries before. Others weren't quite sure but admitted He was a bit out-of-the-ordinary. They were impressed with His miracles, and His peculiar teachings gave them something to talk about over supper. That's as far as it went.

Unperturbed, Jesus asked, "But whom say ye that I am?" Peter spoke up: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

What would you have said? Who is Jesus to you? A religious teacher? An irrelevant historical figure?

Later, Jesus explained His identity this way: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

Peter got it right. Jesus was--and still is--the one and only Son of God, the one and only way God has provided to come to God. His identity is all-important and non-negotiable. So are the consequences for your beliefs about Him.

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