The other day, Dan and I went to an NBA game. Dan had won a basketball tournament and was given a pair of 7th row tickets to a weeknight game. We have never sat this close before so, needless to say, we were excited. I couldn’t believe the number of men in suits attending the game. But it was a work day after all and people were coming straight from the office.
We arrived early for the pre-game activities. I love pre-game . . . watching the ball kids of the night, the cub scouts receiving instruction for their flag presentation of the evening and the court buzzing with players warming up for the big game.
I was watching the teams shoot at their respective baskets, when something strange at mid-court caught my eye. There was a man in dress slacks with a super nice “on-court” warm-up jacket jogging in place. He jogged forward. He jogged backward. I simply didn’t get it. What was a man in dress slacks doing warming up on the court?
I began mentioning it to Dan and he in turn asked me who else would need to warm up for the game. (Yes, the parental question for a question.) And that was when it clicked. The referee. He would be getting ready to spend 48 minutes running up and down the court doing the job he was called to do.
But had Dan not revealed the answer, I would not have known the identity of the man until he took off his warm up jacket and I saw the shirt underneath.
Over 2,000 years ago, a baby laid in a manger with swaddling clothes. His identity hidden to many, short of his parents, some lowly shepherds and eventually, the three wise men who would risk searching for the young king.
It would be years before His true identity would be revealed and even then, many wouldn’t recognize Him. This one under the swaddling clothes would be called Emmanuel, “God With Us,” and He would save His people from their sin (Matthew 1:21).
Would you have recognized Him? The Bible alludes to the fact that there was nothing outstanding about his physical features. The Jewish people of the day were looking for a kingly king who would come and overthrow the Roman rule, not a servant king who would break the yoke of sin’s rule on the human heart. But that is exactly what He did.
His identity? Jesus, the Savior and long-awaited Messiah with a name above all names. Scripture gives no shortage of descriptions in identifying Him and His purpose.
What does His identity mean to you? For me, it means freedom, salvation, peace with God, eternal hope and real relationship with the Creator. His identity, revealed through the pages of Scripture and the invisible words written on human hearts. Have you dealt with His identity? Do you need reassurance and to know one aspect of His character in the midst of whatever you are facing?
Do you recognize Him? He is Jesus, the One and Only. Born of a virgin, laid in a manger and revealed to be the Savior of the world.