I thought that the story of Andrew Mitchell MP would have been long forgotten by now, but, to borrow from Bob Mortimer, they wouldn't let it lie. At the time of writing it is still unclear what the MP and Government Chief Whip did or did not say to police officers who refused him exit through a particular gate out of Downing Street. Mr Mitchell – or to give him his full name, as The Sun called him, Millionaire Tory Andrew Mitchell – has admitted to using foul language, but denies the accusation that he described the police as ‘plebs’. This is clearly at the root of the complaint against Mr Mitchell because he is perceived as seeing himself on a different plane from those who guard the gates. I wonder if he knows the text, “I’d rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord, than dwell in the tents of the wicked” [Psalm 84:10], not that I’m suggesting that Her Majesty’s Government should be equated with ‘the tents of the wicked’.
I remember being one of a crowd of fascinated onlookers in a high street bank when a local radio personality was being denied access to his account as he didn’t have the appropriate ID. The bank clerk was unmoved by the man’s protestations … even when he uttered those immortal words, “Don’t you know who I am?”
This question of identity takes us to that occasion that Jesus asked the disciples, “And who do you say that I am?” He wasn’t asking them to tell him his name, as his question went deeper than that. It went to the very depths of his identity. The difference between Jesus and those who ask, “Don’t you know who I am?” is that Jesus became a ‘pleb’ – an ordinary person – rather than some who seem to have the desire to separate themselves from ordinary people.
Jesus was the Messiah, but not the Messiah that they expected him to be. He was the Messiah who would save his people because he was destined to suffer and die. Jesus just might be the only person in history to ask, “Don’t you know who am?” while embracing his pleb-dom.