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Tag: identity

Washed Clean

Last Sunday we read through the story of Jesus’ Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem. This was the day when Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem much like a King arriving at his coronation day.  Crowds of people welcomed him with shouts of praise and celebration – waving palm branches and laying their coats on the ground before him. They were overjoyed to finally welcome their long awaited Messiah – the King of Israel.

And as the streets of Jerusalem were filled with celebration and praises to God, Jesus affirmed that their praises were absolutely appropriate for the arrival of the Messiah, even if the crowds did have a terribly mis-shapen understanding of what the Messiah had come to do! 

You see, most Isrealites were expecting the Messiah to come in as a political and military leader – much like King David or one of the judges of old – and they expect that he would liberate Israel from the oppression of the Romans. But as we talked about last week, they had no idea that God had much bigger plans than just defeating the Romans. God had plans to defeat sin and death once and for all. He had come to rescue all of mankind! Overthrowing the Romans wasn’t even on his radar!

The Kingdom of God – that Jesus was about to usher in – was going to look entirely different from what everyone was expecting. Even the disciples had completely missed the point of what Jesus had come to do. 

For example, Luke 22 tells us that at the Last Supper – on the night before Jesus was crucified – the disciples were still arguing about which one of them would be the greatest in the Kingdom! Even at that point, they still didn’t get it!

But of course, Jesus patiently endured their blindness – explaining to them time and time again that the kingdom of God was going be unlike any kingdom they’ve ever seen or experienced.

And we’re certainly going to see that our passage today.

Today we’re going to look at the events of the Last Supper – but not so much the elements that we’re most familiar with – that is, the breaking the bread and the sharing of the wine in remembrance of Jesus – signifying his broken body and spilled blood on the cross. Now of course, that will be a part of our message today, but for the bulk of the message this morning, I want to focus on what happens before that. 

While Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record the sharing of the wine and the bread – John’s Gospel doesn’t include those details at all (probably because his Gospel was written quite a bit later than the others and he didn’t feel the need to include information that was already well established by the other Gospels.) Instead, John begins by telling us what happened before that part of the meal.

And what Jesus does there is completely unexpected and it completely flips the disciples understanding of the kingdom of God on it head.

We’re reading this morning from John chapter 13 – starting at verse 1.

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Our Identity in Christ

This morning I want to begin with a mini-interview. I know that Greg has been part of our church for a couple of years now, but I think there are still some people who don’t really know Greg all that well. So I’m going to ask Greg to come up here and I want to have a brief interview with him.

So Greg, come on up here. Actually, I just want to ask you just a single question, but I think this question will really help us get some insight into who you really are. So here is your question: Who are you? That’s the one question I want you to answer. Who are you?

[ Greg to respond several “I am….” statements  ie… I am Rob & Nancy’s son, I am Nicole’s husband,… (uncle, brother, son-in-law, neighbour to, oilers fan, etc…) ]

As you can see, there are a lot of different aspects that make up our identity. Things like the family that we’ve come from or the relationships we’ve grown into –  things like the jobs we have or positions we hold – things like the hobbies we enjoy or the sports teams we cheer for. There are a lot of aspects that blend together to create our identity.

But the interesting thing about our identity is that some aspects never change – while other aspects do. For example, Greg will always be the son of Rob & Nancy Waddy – that will never change. He will always be their child. However, he may not always be an Oiler’s fan. One day He might see the light!

Maybe that’s not the best example. How about this: Last year at this time, he was not the husband of Nicole. But today, he is.

As of August 10, 2019, Greg’s identity changed. And with that, his entire life changed. In fact, he’s probably still adjusting to his new identity as a husband. He’s learning to act like a husband, he’s learning to think like a husband, he’s learning to take on the responsibilities of a husband. And for those of us who have been there, we realize what a huge adjustment it is to take on this new identity that comes with marriage.

But it’s critical that we do take on that identity, because there are always responsibilities and privileges that comes with every aspect of our identity. 

For example, as a child of Rob & Nancy, Greg had many privileges – they fed him for years, they gave him a place to live, they provided for his needs, they gave him love and support. He got that all simply because he was their child. But at the same time, he had some responsibilities to them. He needed to obey them – he was subject to their authority. I’m sure he had some responsibility to help around the house (cleaning his room or washing the dishes or whatever) – and now, as they grow older, he’ll have the responsibility to help to care for them in their old age – and that all comes simply because of his identity their child.

In the same way, when Greg takes on his new identity as a husband – that too comes with certain privileges and responsibilities simply because he is now Nicole’s husband.

So it’s critical that Greg embraces this new identity as a husband. If Greg fails to do this, he is not going to have a happy life! Not only will he miss out on the joys and privileges of being a husband, but if he neglects his responsibilities as a husband, he’s going to cause Nicole to miss out on the joys and privileges of being a wife.

And certainly, embracing and adjusting to his new identity takes time, but it’s so important that Greg makes that transition from living and acting like ‘single Greg’ to living and acting like ‘husband Greg’. 

And I don’t say all this to pick on Greg! Just for the record, I think Greg & Nicole are doing a fantastic job of learning to be husband and wife! But I know it’s a challenge – because I’ve been there. I’m still there! It’s a long process to embrace this new identity!

And the fact is that all of us have to go through this process. Not necessarily the process of taking on a new identity in marriage, but the Bible tells us that then when we accept Christ as our Saviour, we take on a new identity as a Christian.

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True Identity

Last week was a total game-changer for Joseph. If you’ve been with us for these past few weeks, you’ll recall that up until this point, it just seemed that no matter what Joseph did, something bad always happened to him. Even when things were going good, they quickly turned bad.

Because so far he’s been nearly killed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit, thrown into prison, and then completely forgotten about. And this was all before he was 30 years old. It has been a rough life for Joseph. But then, in just one day, everything changed.

Last week we read about how Pharaoh had a dream – well, two dreams really, and he didn’t know what they meant. These dreams obviously had some significance, but neither Pharaoh or any of his wisemen could figure out the meaning of these two dreams.

Now as it happened, Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer had been in prison with Joseph some time earlier and Joseph had accurately interpreted a dream that he had had – and so the cupbearer told Pharaoh about this Joseph guy that he had met in prison who could interpret dreams.

Well, with that information, Pharaoh called up Joseph out of prison and asked Joseph if he could interpret his dreams. And this is how Joseph responded:

16 “It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.” Genesis 41:16

Joseph knew that he didn’t have the ability to interpret dreams, but God certainly did. As we mentioned last week, Joseph had God-confidence – not self-confidence.

Well, to make a long story short, Joseph goes on to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, which in essence, were a warning from God that after 7 years of great prosperity in Egypt, there would be 7 years of terrible famine.

And this is where everything changed for Joseph. Because Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, Pharaoh determined that no one in Egypt was as wise as Joseph and so he gave Joseph full authority over all of Egypt – so that Joseph could make the necessary preparations for this upcoming famine. No one would be greater than Joseph in all of Egypt except for Pharaoh himself.

In one day, everything changed for Joseph. He went from being a slave in prison, to the second-in-command over all of Egypt. Pharaoh even gave him him a new Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife. What a total life change!

And it’s right at that moment of life-change that we pick it up today – with Joseph now the second-in-command over all of Egypt. The story of Joseph is far from over, so we’re going to find out what happened next. We continue reading in Genesis 41, verse 45.

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