And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God and was sent to speak…” — Luke 1:19 NKJV
As I read those words I felt like I was in the presence of authority. Gabriel knew who he was and where he stood. It reminded me of a scene from the Hollywood movie, Gladiator. The main character, Maximus is asked by the emperor after winning a battle in the arena, “Do you have a name?” His response:
My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.
Here is a man that does not struggle with who he is or what his mission is. The same could be said of Gabriel, although his mission was not so bleak. But where does this identity come from and more directly why does that matter to us?
When Moses questioned God in Exodus 3:13-14, God responded “I AM WHO I AM… you shall say…I AM has sent me”. And now, hundreds of years later Zacharias questions Gabriel. Gabriel knows who he is – “I am Gabriel”, but the messenger does not stop, satisfied that the mere declaration of his name brings understanding or context to the situation. No, he continues, “…who stands in the presence of God and was sent to speak”.
Later in the same chapter one of Luke, Mary finds her purpose from her Creator and declares:
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
vs. 47-48 NKJV
We must find our identity in Christ. Moses was able to lead the captives free because he knew who he was in context of “I AM”. Gabriel spoke with authority because he knew who he was in context of “I AM”. Mary faced possible abandonment from her fiance, but rejoiced knowing who she was in context of “I AM”.
I cannot be defined by my environment as our factious Maximus was. Defining myself based on my race or people group, my church or denomination, my salary or job, my house or neighborhood, my anything-other-than my Creator is flawed. It is in Him that I find my purpose. When I know who I am based on who He is, I can push forward, and I can do so with authority.
As I embark on this trip through the Bible, I look for understanding, I look for purpose, and I look for identity. As you read “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, find youself as God see you. The next time you start a sentence with “I am”, pay attention to what follows. Are you speaking with the authority that only comes from the Creator? An angel may never wake you up at night to declare your purpose, but God Himself as made Himself known to us thourgh this Book – After all, He is I AM!