While transitions come at any stage in life, they are especially prevalent during the young adult years. From age 18 through the 20s and even early 30s, many life decisions need to be made about school, career, friends, marriage, and perhaps faith commitment.
In the late young adult stage of his life, Jesus too faced a major life transition. At about age 30, the gospels record Jesus stepping out of what until then has apparently been a settled home and career in a small, rural Galilean village. He chooses to be baptized by a wandering preacher, hears a call from God, and sets out to announce the Kingdom of God.
But a crucial part of Jesus’s transition involves establishing his adult identity. He is forced to confront the question, “Who am I?” In the wilderness, the tempter seductively proposes three possible identities for Jesus to adopt. Ultimately Jesus refuses the tempter’s offers and chooses another identity for himself. It’s the identity that God gave him at his baptism, when God declared Jesus to be “my beloved Son.”
In our worship on Sunday, June 21, we will remember the young adults of The First Mennonite Church who are facing transition. We will ask how Jesus’s experience in facing a key transition period in his own life might speak to us today, when we also face transitions. We will explore how Jesus answered the question “Who am I?” in a way that sustained him through the challenges, joys and sufferings of announcing God’s Kingdom.
How Jesus answered his own “Who am I?” question is critical for us, when we think of who we are, of what is most important to us, and of how the same tempter seductively whispers to us to create an identity for ourselves that is less than God might wish.