On the trail, many hikers leave their identity behind and adopt a trail name. Titles, such as Doctor, President or CEO become irrelevant after 3 days of hiking in summer heat and no shower. The wilderness alters our identity. It is quite possible to leave the outside life behind, and live in that new identity.
In a prior Christmastime article, I asked the question “Why the Trail?”. It was a look at Jesus' trail from the comforts and glories of heaven, to a cold night in a manger filled with hay, in a barn smelling of animals, all to begin a life in which He was largely misunderstood, and ultimately subjected to the most cruel injustice the world has ever seen.
Jesus, during that earthly trail “emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”. (Philippians 2:7-8) In that human condition He “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin”. (Hebrews 4:15) And, so that “through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery”. (Hebrews 2:14-15)
This could lead to a mistaken identity.
However, these passages show only the humility of the earthly trail. Following death, He summited. “Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. (Philippians 2:9-11).
This is no arbitrary statement about His identity. About 800 years before the events of the cross and resurrection this description is found in Isaiah 45. “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By Myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return:
‘To Me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.’"
Quite contrary to the earthly trail identity, a powerful and unique identity is declared. “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by Myself” (Isaiah 44:24). Nine times in chapter 44 and 45, Isaiah announced that there is only one God and then, to that one God, “every knee shall bow”. It is that one God who walked this trail through suffering (see Isaiah 53) to complete His plan “to save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:25). It is this God to whom every knee shall bow.
The humbled, suffering Savior passing through an earthly trail in the likeness of a human is none other than the one God, and there is no one else, “a righteous God and a Savior, there is none besides Me” (Isaiah 45:21).