I love the story of Jesus getting baptized as the Holy Spirit descends of Him and God speaks from Heaven, “You are my beloved Son, with You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). Imagine what it would be like for you if, right now, God spoke such encouraging words over you.
It isn’t long however that while spending some alone time with His Father, fasting and praying in the wilderness, Jesus finds himself tempted by the devil. Probably not surprisingly, it is the last thing God spoke over Jesus that is the first thing the enemy tries to rob from Him. “If you are the Son of God..,” the temptation begins.
This isn’t just a temptation to sin. This is a challenge to His identity. If this challenge succeeds, then the plan for our salvation would fail. But Jesus resists the enemy, and because of this victory, where the Bible says he walked into the wilderness “led by the Spirit” (Luke 4:1), he now returns “in the power of the Spirit” (4:14).
Identity enables purpose
From here, after He has stood firmly in who He is, the next thing we read in the story is that Jesus walks into the Synagogue in Nazareth, stands up to read from the book of Isaiah, and finds these words.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
After reading these words, Jesus rolls up the scroll, sits down, and essentially says “I know who I Am. You want to know who I Am? I Am the fulfillment of this prophecy. Messiah is here.” The personal realization of His identity as the Son of God, enabled Him to publicly accept His role in life.
At first the crowd is confused and amazed at his teachings, but the amazement fades as they realize the identity He is claiming is different from the one they know. To them, Jesus is only the carpenter’s son. They grow angry and eventually try to kill Him over this issue.
I can’t help but wonder, if Jesus had not been confident in the Word of His Father, would He have ever had the courage to stand before men and accept His destiny? Had the enemy not challenged Him privately, would Jesus have claimed His anointing publicly? I can’t answer those questions, because there is too much behind the scenes that we don’t know. But what I can say is that I find here a wonderful parallel between the story of Jesus and the life of every believer today.
YOU ARE MY SON!
God spoke the word over Jesus, “You are My Son.” Now while most of us haven’t heard the voice of God over us in the same way, as believers we do hang our faith on the scriptures as the Word of God. And in the scriptures we read this:
“But to all who did receive (Jesus), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
The Bible says that by our faith in Jesus Christ, His death on the cross and resurrection three days later, we have been adopted by the Father, and now, just as Jesus was the Son of God, now we too are the sons and daughters of God. This is the identity we are given when we receive salvation in faith.
ARE YOU REALLY GOD’S SON?
The hard part is that just like Jesus was tempted to doubt His identity by the enemy, we too will face the same challenge. All of us will go through an identity crisis as we have to “put off the old self which belongs to the former manner of life” (Ephesians 4:22) and “present ourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life” (Romans 6:13).
The temptations will always come, and it is at these times that our spiritual reality will be challenged to overcome the weakness of the flesh (Matthew 26:41). This will be a battle fought on many fronts as Jesus also said we will not be accepted by the world because we no longer belong to the world system (Matthew 10:16-25).
By faith we have to take hold of our identity as the children of God and not let the enemy, the flesh, or the world rob us of it. And the reward for standing firm is that it enables us to fulfill our destiny in Christ (Ephesians 2:10).
ANOINTED TO PROCLAIM GOOD NEWS
Jesus stood in the synagogue and declared from scripture the role God has called Him to. It was laid out plainly in the book of the prophet Isaiah. Once we understand our new identity in Him, we too can find that our mission and anointing is clearly spelled out in the scriptures as well:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
So do you know who you are? Are you sure enough of that to stand firm in the face of trial and temptation? Then what are you going to do with this revelation?