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Archive for the 'I AM' Category

I AM 8

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I AM - Altogether Now

So there we have it - Jesus the I AM of history. We saw together how Jesus loudly proclaiming he was the the living bread; the light of the world; the good shepherd and the gate; the resurrection and the life; the way, the truth, and the life; and finally declaring He and He alone was the true vine! Jesus as the long waited for Messiah or Saviour, was the reality , whereas Israel was the symbol. All the things the nation of Israel was to be but failed to do so, is embodied in Jesus Christ. All the I AM statements reflect this.

All through this, Jesus knew what his mission on earth was. Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." He knew that the cross and his being raised from the dead was his ultimate mission to defeat sin and death. If it were to be any other way, do you not think God would have done it another way? The cross and the resurrection show that Jesus' exclusive proclamations are true, because Jesus life and actions support Jesus' claims. No other religion, apart from Christianity, offers a guarantee of salvation and everlasting life based on faith and grace alone. This is because the offer is all down to God's salvation work on the cross and not due to the efforts of humans to appease a God or gods.

Jesus - the "I AM..." Jesus never said "I am a true vine; a way, a truth and a life." Nor did He say "I am a resurrection and a life." Jesus never said "I am a door to life", just as He did not say "I am a shepherd, a door, a light or a bread of life." No! Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life. Jesus is the one great shepherd and the only door to life. Jesus is the only light of the world and the only true bread of life.

What are you going to do with this Jesus? What options are open to you?

CS Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, puts it this way, "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

So, as we finish this short series, who is Jesus to you?

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I AM 7

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I AM - the true Vine!

John 15:1 "I AM the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser."

All the things the nation of Israel was to be but failed to do so, is embodied in Jesus Christ. All the I AM statements reflect this.  Isaiah 5 starts out as a love song between God and His chosen people, Israel. Israel was to be a vineyard, and despite all the love God had given tending to her, Israel had only produced bitter and sour fruit. This bitterly sour fruit is described in Isaiah 5:8-25. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was to be a vine or vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7, Ezekiel 15:1-6). Therefore, God will abandon her.

So if this vineyard is abandoned, will God raise a new vineyard? Juxtaposed against Israel's failure to be a vine, Jesus states that he is the true vine. Jesus was the reality, whereas Israel was the symbol. The fruit of Jesus Christ' life was and is abundant, fresh and sweet to the taste! We as Christians some 2000 years later are the result of Jesus being the true vine!

As the purpose of a vine is to produce fruit, the focal point is on what it takes to produce fruit (John 15:2). As Christian Disciples, we are to bear fruit by remaining close to Jesus, as He is the vine and we are the branches. And why is the Christian Disciple to bear fruit? So that God the Father is glorified (John 15:8) by the Christian Disciple, and thereby proving their Discipleship. As part of the ultimate mission of Jesus to glorify God the Father (John 12:28, John 17:4), it is imperative that Jesus' disciples be fruit-bearers. This means that all Christian Disciple are to be His witnesses and therefore a commitment to mission and evangelisation is necessary. That is why the Christian prays "your kingdom come" in the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:10)

Jesus, "I AM the true vine"

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I AM 6

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I AM - way, truth and life!

John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

When Jesus issued this statement, the stress of the sentence automatically falls on the words "the way". This is because Jesus is answering a question posed by Thomas (John 14v5). Jesus Christ has exposed the barrier of sin and death, which prevents a person from entering God's presence. He explodes this same barrier when a person entrusts in Him for their eternal salvation. He is as he claims in Matthew 7v14 "the road that leads to life". Not only is He the way, but He is also the truth and the life. All of God's truth is embodied in Jesus Christ who as both fully God and fully human was also the ever-living God. Nobody can claim access to God the Father, except through Jesus Himself. Other religions and other so-called paths to God may contain some element of truth about God, but there is no other way to God but through Jesus Christ. He is the means of access to God for all people of all cultures and all backgrounds. Jesus welcomes all, so that in His singular exclusive claims is an inclusive embrace of all. As Jesus goes on to say in John 14v7, because we know Him we also know God the Father.

Jesus, "I AM the way, the truth and the life!"

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I AM 5

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I AM - Resurrection and the life.

John 11v25: Jesus said to her, "I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

This exclamation by Jesus is highlight of this passage of Scripture. Lazarus has died (John 11v15) and will be raised back to life again (John 11v43-44). Why does Jesus say that He is the resurrection and the life? He is the giver of life itself. He gives eternal life to all who will believe in him. Resurrection and life are inextricably tied together. Resurrection and life harmonize each other because resurrection precedes life and the new life of a Christian disciple is the result of resurrection. Remember Jesus mission was to go to his death on the cross and be resurrected three days later. Not a resurrection like that of Lazarus, who would later physically die again.

No, Jesus' resurrection is one where death is ultimately conquered and Jesus has a glorious new body. Those who choose to be Christian Disciples by faith in the risen Christ, only have new life because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after His death on the Cross. That is why Jesus can exclaim with authority "I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live" (John 11v25). Moreover, this resurrected life is not just for the future but it is also for the present, and only through the risen Jesus Christ.

Jesus, "I AM the resurrection and the life!"

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I AM 4

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I AM - the Good Shepherd

John 10v7-11 and 14-15: Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Throughout the Old Testament, God is seen as a shepherd and His people are the sheep of is keeping. The sheep are always God's even though He temporarily entrusted them to people such as Moses to care and tender them. Therefore Moses and others like him such as the true prophets, were forerunners to Jesus. Here Jesus proclaims that He is the door or gate to salvation! It is through Jesus that salvation is found and through Him alone as the door or gate, people are led safe and sound into spiritual freedom, spiritual light and spiritual sustenance. Unlike others who come only to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus offers spiritual safety & nourishment. Jesus does not just offer a way out, but also a way in! The security offered by Jesus is because He is always in close proximity to those who follow Him. Jesus calls all those who follow Him by name (John 10v3) and they know each other.

Jesus is the great shepherd only through the sacrifice he must make for His sheep. Here Jesus is looking ahead to the sacrifice He makes on the Cross. His love for all of humanity compels Him to make the ultimate sacrifice. Just as all shepherds will endanger themselves for the safety of their sheep, so too will Jesus endure the pain and suffering of the Cross, so that people can be led into safety of God's kingdom. It is in this role of shepherd, that Jesus exhibits true leadership, which is self-less and sacrificial. Ezekiel 34v11 tells of God searching out for his sheep among all nations, and this is fulfilled through Jesus. Through His perfect, obedient and voluntary sacrifice on the Cross, not only will salvation be available to the Jews but also to those of other nations (John 10v16).

Jesus, "I AM the good shepherd

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I AM 3

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I AM -Light of the World!

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John 8:12: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

Jesus is at the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles! One of the great symbols of that Feast was Light! At the end of the feast, when the lights are extinguished, Jesus said that he was the light of the world! Throughout the Old Testament, light is an important symbol. There is the pillar of fire and cloud leading the nation of Israel on their journey (Exodus 13). In Psalm 27v1, the Psalmist describes God as "my light".

The nation of Israel was to be God's light to all the world (Isaiah 49v6) so that God would be the world's light (Isaiah 60v19-22). So by referring to Himself as the light of the world, Jesus is saying it is He who shines light into peoples spiritual eyes and gives them understanding which in turn leads to them seeing their need of God and His ability to satisfy their spiritual needs.

Jesus, "I AM the light of the world!"

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