Here’s a sample:
A scene from the movie Gladiator:
Commodus: Your fame is well deserved, Spaniard. I don’t believe there’s ever been a gladiator that matched you … Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us all your real name? (Maximus is silent.) You do have a name?
Maximus: My name is Gladiator. (He turns and walks away.)
Commodus: How dare you show your back to me? Slave! You will remove your helmet and tell me your name.
Maximus: (Slowly, very slowly, lifts his helmet and turns to face his enemy):
My name is Maximus Decimus Meridus;
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 in the next.
[from the movie Gladiator.]
“Who are you?”
Maximus never forgot who he was. He never forgot that he was a soldier “with a past.” He was a husband of a murdered wife. He was a father of a murdered son. Today, he might be counseled to leave the past in the past and “move on with his life.” But his past was part of his life and was part of the definition of Maximus.
In the movie The Passion of the Christ, the very first scene has Satan tempting Jesus to doubt who he is. “Are you willing to take this burden on yourself?” he asks Jesus. He meant the burden of all of humanity’s sin. This reminds me of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness where Satan called into question Jesus’ identity when he approached Jesus with “If you really are the Son of God….” Could Jesus really take the burden of all the sin of all people, from Adam and Eve all the way to the last people at the end of the world?
He could, because Jesus is true man and true God. He could and would take the burden because if Jesus didn’t, humanity would be lost forever. Jesus never lost sight of who he was. He was the beloved Son of God. He had the pleasure of his Father in heaven.
With the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you and I are also given our true identities.
This is who I am. Husband to my wife. Father to my sons. Son to my mom and dad. Brother. Friend, Pastor. Baptized son of God. I am all these things. I am what all these things make me.
Yet I am also nothing. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
“Tell me your name!”
I am more than letters and sounds. My name is written in the “Book of Life” (Revelation 20:15). My name is Christian, for my Lord is Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. He died for me, purchased and won me, through His shed blood on the cross, from sin, death, and the power of the devil.
“Who are you?”
I am saved and will live forever and will do what I can to serve in the Lord’s Kingdom. No less and no more than that.