When I was a young boy, I remember taking $20 dollars from my mom’s wallet at a store while she was shopping for clothes. Having sat by the dressing room for what seemed like hours, I was restless. I began to rummage through her purse, hoping for a morsel of candy or chewing gum. Then I spotted it––her wallet. I opened it to find a stack of 2 or 3 twenties with a few other denominations to boot. I quickly snatched a 20, and threw it in the center of a rack of clothes that my mom was just thumbing through so as to come back and get it before we left the store. Mom went directly to the counter to purchase the piece of clothing that she had just tried on, and guess what? She was $20 short! I meandered over to the rack, grabbed the hidden $20, then went to my mom and told her I found it in the rack. “You must have dropped it!” Skated out of that one!
Years later I blew it again it, taking something that didn’t belong to me. My sin was found out because I carelessly and shamelessly stole. Having lied to cover up my atrocity, the person I stole from could have (and should have) thrown the book at me––but didn’t. At that point in my life, it marked me pretty passionately. They set me free by forgiving me of my shortcoming.
Unfortunately for me, it took the 2 bookend failures of sin and a couple of years, to help me learn who I am and who I am not. I am not a beggar, a thief, or a liar! I am a man that is passionate about Jesus! I love my family. I am passionate about my call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to love people of all nationalities, creeds, and religions. I am FREE, and want to forgive, like it was given to me! That is me!
Luke 2:41 – 52…
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. 43 After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, 44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. 46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” 49 “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”[d] 50 But they didn’t understand what he meant. 51 Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. 52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
I have been studying this story this week. Notice that Jesus was hanging out around adults challenging them and totally blowing their minds at His ability to understand theology. WOW!!!!! His parents were totally tripped out that He was so calm cool and collected. Why? Jesus knew who He was! He was God’s own son so He was hanging out with people talking about His Dad!
Then something amazing happens. Jesus, who is the Son of God, in verse 51 “returns to Nazareth and was obedient to them.” Vs. 52 “Jesus grew in stature and in favor with God and ALL the people.” Why is this? How could the Son of God just turn it off? He knew who He was! He was confident, therefore He was good with it!
My youth pastor once said of me, “Dan will beat a dead horse to death, or die trying!” I used to think that was badge of honor. I have learned that dead horses should stay dead, and I shouldn’t try to raise them. But the passion inside of me to beat the dead horse, has since been harnessed to love, forgive and to stand for and proclaim Jesus! I love preaching the Gospel, and I really want the Church to preach it with their words and their lifestyle! That is who I am!
Now the question for you is, “Who Are You?”