Davis Motor Sales banner ad
ronniemcbrayer300 blackKENTUCKY (8/18/13) - “Just who do you think you are?” Now there’s a question that has been posed and pointed more than a few times. Usually it is a weaponized question of sorts, laden with accusation; or it is a declaration aimed at someone’s preposterous behavior. Nevertheless, I think it is an essential question of spiritual identity.

Consider the writer of the New Testament book commonly known as “John.” Tradition holds that this Gospel was written by the disciple John, one of Jesus’ closest associates, though the writer, mysteriously, never identifies himself by name.

If I had written a book that was an eyewitness account of the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth, you can bet that I would have signed it – as gigantic as John Hancock – but John the Disciple did not. He used a different signature. He used an alias, a pen name tagged: “The one Jesus loved.”

Why such a moniker? The leading explanation is that because John wrote his gospel some time later than the other three, persecution had set in against the church. Thus, for John to give his actual name would have meant persecution, censure, or even death. Another theory is that John was being a bit arrogant. He was Jesus’ favorite, so goes this theory, and he was rubbing others’ nose in it.

But I don’t think John was hiding his identity or flaunting his supremacy in the band of Jesus’ merry men. I think he was playing another creative game altogether; he was using a literary device to force his readers to take hold of the core meaning of what it means to be in relationship with Jesus Christ. He was asking the question, “Just who do you think you are?”

John understood that his core identity was directly connected to the love Christ had for him. So much so, that he did not think of himself as a fisherman, a disciple, an apostle, a Gospel writer, or a Church Father. He was simply one who was supremely loved. That’s who he was, and the exact identity he wanted us, his readers, to embrace.

We are no longer just names or anonymous faces. We are not defined by occupation, label, race, nationality, failure, our family of origin, culture, popularity, or the ancillary chorus of the voices around us. We are simply the Ones Jesus Loves. This is our identity and who we really are. Is this too much to understand? Probably so. But I don’t have to understand it to accept it, embrace it, and live it.

I don’t understand the science of how the sun can be 93 million miles away, provide life-giving light and heat to this planet, and keep our solar system from devolving into chaos, but I believe it, and I experience its light and heat every day. I don’t understand Newton’s Law of Gravitation or Einstein’s later Theory of Relativity, but I know these things keep my feet grounded on planet earth every day, and anchor me within this time and space.

I don’t understand how oxygen is processed by the bronchial tubes in my lungs, but my lack of understanding doesn’t keep me from breathing! I don’t understand the strange affection we have for puppies, the passion I feel for football, the satisfaction that comes from being with those whom I care about, or the serenity in my soul produced by sitting on top of a mountain or seeing the Gulf of Mexico on a cold, winter day.

I understand very little about these things. But I still experience all of these richly and deeply, and these experiences make me alive. Can’t God’s love in Christ work the same way? As a shining light, a grounding force, a sustaining atmosphere; an affection, passion, and serenity that gives us life and meaning?

No, we can only understand bits and piece of it all, but our lack of complete knowledge should not prevent us from believing and living this fact: We are unconditionally and eternally adored by God. We are indeed, the Ones Jesus Loves.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

In Other News...

Woman Arrested for Allegedly Attacking Police Officer

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (1/30/15) — A Madisonville woman was charged with third-degree assault after she allegedly attacked a… Read More

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (1/31/15) — The following meetings and events are scheduled for the following week: Poppy and… Read More

Most Read This Week

January 28, 2015 18036

UPDATED: Several Involved in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 26, 2015 9030

KSP Arrests Two on Child Porn Charges; MPD…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
January 25, 2015 8550

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 28, 2015 7194

Nortonville Man Accused of Meth Possession,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 26, 2015 6644

School Board Votes 3-2 for Utility Tax

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 25, 2015 6302

Juvenile Hit by Vehicle at McDonald's

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by GPD Officer Wes Miller
January 28, 2015 6220

Tax Recall Committee Formed Day After School…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 29, 2015 6204

Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of Child

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

January 08, 2015 23465

Woman Claiming to be 'Lady Gaga' Tours Town in…

in Top News For All Sites by Madisonville Police Department
January 15, 2015 23068

UPDATE: Fatality Victim's Name Officially Released

in Top News For All Sites by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

January 30, 2015 5779

More Than 800 Gather to Encircle HCCHS

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
January 31, 2015 5773

24-Year-Old Killed in One-Vehicle Collision

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
January 30, 2015 5174

Woman Arrested for Allegedly Attacking Police…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 30, 2015 2373

No One Left Behind: The Story of 'Sarge'

in General News For All Sites by Lisa Aug
January 30, 2015 2356

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 30, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 30, 2015 2320

Hopkins County Sheriff's Arrest Reports - Jan.…

in Hopkins News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
January 29, 2015 2281

Lt. Gov. Luallen, Housing, Veterans Officials…

in General News For All Sites by Office of the Governor
January 30, 2015 2198

Central City Crave Movement Makes Impact in…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
January 30, 2015 2071

WKWIB, GRADD, Owensboro's RAE Get Workforce Grants

in General News For All Sites by Kim Brannock
January 30, 2015 1922

Whitfield Works for Protection of U.S. Waters…

in General News For All Sites by Marty Irby
January 30, 2015 1887

Col. Stephen Trigg Chapter SAR Honors Former…

in General News For All Sites by Geoff Baggett
January 30, 2015 1636

Madisonville Fire Reports – Jan. 30, 2015

in Hopkins News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News