Notes on Sunday's Sermon on the Theme of Personhood/ Identity

L.T. Jeyachandran was speaking this morning at S.I.B. KL and I had the opportunity to hear him! He’s someone from Ravi Zacharias’ ministry. I can persoanlly say that he is one good speaker.

He spoke on the theme of personhood, and I’m just trying my best to recollect what he said from notes and memory in the best ability that I can. (Any incomplete ideas presented are simply my own mistakes)

He started off with a text from Exodus 3:13-14, and directed attention to the part where God introduced himself as ‘I AM’, thus the theme of personhood. God’s person is revealed in his revealing himself as ‘I AM’. Touching on that (personhood) he laid out three points on which he wished to further enhance the theme of personhood.

  • Recovery of Personhood/ Identity
  • Personhood/ Identity is Relational
  • Jesus on the Cross and Personhood

1. Recovery of Personhood/ Identity

  • – The virtual world has enraptured us. Kids can be the player of their choice taking on the character of the games they play. Husbands and wives can enter the cyber world, and imagine a life better than the ones they are going through.
  • – Our own creations have begun to replace our personhood/ identity and this can be one of the results of the fall.
  • – Jayachandran mentioned about how even kids in their teens are losing their identities as well. In Singapore a group of eight teenagers made suicide pact influenced by a game they played on their game console. Read it here
  • – A lot of people get into the crisis of understanding identity by what they do, e.g.: their profession
  • – Doing can be a substitute for who we really are (our being)
  • – Identity or our personhood is who we really are.
  • – Most of the time we mix up identity with what we do/ our work.
  • – What we do is supposed to be an expression of who we are.

2. Personhood/ Identity is Relational

  • – We have become so individualistic. The church has adopted the shopping mall mentality in where the only relational dimension of church is the vertical (God) and not horizontal (with each other).
  • – Take the example of someone being born again/ born a new (John 3) connected with birth of a new baby. A baby is born into a family hence relational.
  • – Jesus introduced the idea of trinity in common terms or better still relational terms ‘father’ and ‘son’.
  • – Gen 1:26-27 (tells us two things about identity) : (i) We are the only one in creation created in the image of God, (ii) In order to reflect image of God, it is in community that we do this: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.’
  • – But one of the difficulties we face in relationships is the part where hurt lurks and tries to break relationships. Jesus as he was being nailed to the cross cried out ‘Father forgive them for the do not know what they are doing.’ Reflecting on this Jayachandran said we have to learn to forgive unilaterally just like Jesus here to rid ourselves of resentment.

3. Jesus on the Cross and Personhood

  • – Mark 13:34 “…My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
  • – It is only here that Jesus, instead of calling out Father, cried out God instead.
  • – Jayachandran reflected on this as Jesus laid down his identity at the same time he said “my God, my God….”Jesus laid down his identity for us so that we could regain ours.
  • – In John 17:20-24 Jesus interceding on our behalf on the relational dimension of identity.
  • – Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross redeems us and also helps us regain back our identity, which is ultimately in God, and found in Jesus.

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