Identity theft is a big security problem with modern technology. When we get that email sharing the news that the security system has been compromised with some company our credit card is associated with, we cringe. No amount of “sorry” compensates for the work of getting a new card and getting information tied to it correctly. Our reading today from Matthew 4:5-7 challenges Jesus’ identity. The devil demands Jesus prove his identity, not with a social security card or the secret answer to a security question, but by some act that would prove his deity.
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Interestingly, Jesus does not tie his identity to his heritage, to his credentials of job assignment, or pull out heavenly witnesses. He refers to Scripture. One of the questions underlying the Reformation was a question of identity. It is involved in the question of indulgences, paying by money or good deeds for the sins of our life to remove years in purgatory before entering heaven. Is my identity secure as a child of God or can it be stolen by some sin I do so that I am put at a social distance from God?
What does my identity depend on? The Bible says that believers are “children of God” and that is information kept in the heart of God, in relationship. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. A challenge by Satan to our identity is a challenge to the character of a God who holds us. Romans 8:38-39 assures us that not even life or death, angels or demons, height or depth, of anything else can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus. Our identity is secure. Scripture confirms identity and so we stand on Scripture and not others sources like human testimony, social security cards or whatever. May you rest in that security today! Blessings.