Mistaken Identity

Mistaken Identity

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – Matthew 14:25-27

Often embarrassment follows a case of mistaken identity. What also quickly follows is an apology with the explanation, “I thought you were someone else.” It is a situation that will repeat itself regularly, but likely will not have any lasting consequences—except when it happens regarding Jesus.

On the night the disciples witnessed the miracle of Jesus walking on the lake, their fears escalated. Instead of seeing their friend, teacher, and Savior, they mistook Jesus for a ghost. As a result, they were filled with terror and believed their demise was near. I need to learn a lesson from the disciples, and even more importantly, I need to know who Jesus is and what he does for me.

It is easy for Jesus to experience a case of mistaken identity. It happens when I fail to see Jesus for who he is and try to make him into something he never came to be. Without the guidance of the Scriptures I would only identify Jesus as a good man, a fine teacher, or someone after whom I would like to model my life. The problem comes when I need Jesus to be more than this.

This is why I need to get back to what God’s Word reveals. There I see Jesus’ true identity. He is my Savior who by his obedient death on the cross rescues me from the condemnation of sin. He is my Redeemer who by his victorious resurrection frees me from the power of the devil. He is my Shepherd who by his unsurpassed power lovingly leads me through this life to eternal life. He is, finally, my ever-present God and Lord who says, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

While situations of mistaken identity will happen from time to time, I can never afford to see Jesus as anything, or anyone other than my Savior, my God, and my Lord.

Peace in Jesus,
Pastor John Gensmer


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