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A big part of our faith is our ability to think through who it is we claim to be worshiping and living for.  Our Epiphany theme, “Jesus as…” helps us explore more about Jesus’ identity.  He carried so many roles, and with them, so many names by which we call him.  Christ, Lord, Brother, Teacher, Healer, Savior, Messiah, Rabbi, Comforter, Afflicter, Dayspring, Prince of Peace, Counselor, Head of the Church, Judge, Son of Man, Jesus of Nazareth, Servant, Light of the World, Word of God, Son of God, Bread of Life, Living Water, and too many others to list.

There are so many names by which we know Jesus and enter into relationship with him.  And in coming to know more about Jesus, we come to know more about ourselves, too.  As our founder, John Calvin, wrote in his primary work Institutes of Christian Religion, “Without knowledge of self, there is no knowledge of God…. Without knowledge of God, there is no knowledge of self.” 

As we explore different ways of knowing “Jesus as…,” we could also ask about who we are with him.  “Me as…” disciple, follower, friend, student, worshiper, sister/brother, one-in-need, servant, cross-bearer, missionary, beloved, broken-one, sheep, peace-maker, ambassador, and again, too many possibilities to list.

We as people of faith, and Jesus in whom we put our faith, have so many roles.  In all likelihood, as our faith was forming and as it continues to grow, we have each come to feel especially connected to Jesus, using particular names.  And we, living for Jesus, have probably come to see ourselves most clearly taking on particular roles for him.  Better understanding these roles in our life, then, allows us to better tell our own story of Christianity and how we fit into it.

As we think together this month about just who Jesus is, which names are you most comfortable calling him?  Which of his roles are you most drawn to?  Which do you struggle to understand or connect with?  And as a person of faith, how do you most see yourself?  If someone asked you to claim your relationship to Jesus with a word other than, “Christian,” what would you tell them?  What is your story by which you identify yourself with Jesus?

In contemporary culture, we can often shy away from “evangelism,” and “evangelizing.”  They’ve earned some suspicion in our faith and culture.  But, at their heart is really just our ability to tell our understanding of Jesus’ story, and our own place in it.  To share that “I’ve come to know Jesus as… , and because of that, I’ve come to know myself as… .”  When we’re able to tell our story well, and listen well to the stories of others, evangelism turns to a time of sharing, and the good news expresses itself.

This season, how will you come to know yourself by knowing God?  How will you come to know God by knowing yourself?  And how will you share that story with love?

Peace in the Grace of Christ,

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