December 22, 2011

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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December 21, 2011

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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December 20, 2011

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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