The I AM
~WHO IS JESUS?~ life is utterly impossible without One who is capable of transcending the laws and limits placed on the natural world, One who has no beginning and no end, One who quite simply has always been, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME, ONE who is the I AM. Jesus knew without a shadow of doubt what He was saying to those descendants of Abraham that fateful day when He made the unmistakable claim to the title of GOD – the I AM
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-a people without a past have no future
-the Bible is the key to knowing the past
-Jesus is the pen by which the very words of the past are written
-the past is the key to the future
Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created…life and the very limits of the universe
-men who study God’s creation first and then search for an origin have pursued their studies in vain; they have come at it from the wrong end – backwards in fact – and they will never find the answers they’re looking for. Why? Because you can’t understand an infinite source by looking through a finite creation, the finite by nature will always be limiting, fall short. In finite human terms, if I look to a portrait I can understand certain aspects of the painter. He was creative, he loved colours, he was abstract in his thinking. But his painting can’t move itself, can’t speak, is almost completely absent in the third dimension. Do I conclude that the man behind this painting although creative can’t walk, although colourful is a mute; granted he has an abstract nature am I forced to conclude that his overall presence is flat and two-dimensional? No. But we do the same with God. We put the laws and limits of the natural observable world on God, and therefore given His supernatural resume it’s clear that by His own creation He doesn’t exist.
The creation is limited in its ability because the source of Life isn’t Life itself but the architect of Life. God is that architect and without Him Life is truly and utterly impossible. So, a truer conclusion is as follow: in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and everything within it, but this is only the beginning of time for finite beings such as us – this is our beginning, not His. Since the architect wasn’t created on the same day as His creation, the actual beginning is unknown to us and in truth doesn’t exist. After all, for God to be supreme He can’t be created, therefore He has no beginning. If he were a created being, He wouldn’t be God – the one who created Him would be.
There’s another place in the Bible that speaks of the beginning, written thousands of years after the Genesis account by a follower of Jesus named John, and I believe his writing to be a peak into a time even earlier than the beginning of time, before Genesis – a time before Life.
John 1:1, “In the Beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God. He was in the Beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was LIFE…AND this Word (He) became flesh, made His dwelling among us, and we have seen HIM!
Who have they seen and what does this mean?!!
What did Jesus say to these men to move them to such violent extremes, from a conversation to picking up stones with which to kill Him?
-Jesus told them that they were slaves to sin, and freedom was found only through Him… but they were sure their freedom and salvation came by their blood ancestry to Abraham and the promises God gave him… so, not that.
-Jesus told them that they were not of God but rather children of the devil… strong words but they retorted back calling Jesus a Samaritan (outsider) and demon possessed… no, they got their kicks in and didn’t pick up stones yet
-What moved these Jewish men to the murderous extremes was one statement by Jesus, “Truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.”
what exactly did he say here?
1. First, he claimed to have existed before Abraham, a man who lived and died 2500 years earlier. They revered Abraham, but even this claim wasn’t enough to move these men to violence.
2. More than His claim to a lengthy existence, He claimed to be God. But this wasn’t the first time this exact claim was made. 1300 years prior to this moment the same words were given to a man named Moses…
“Moses, Moses” – from a burning bush, a personal God who calls men by name
-HERE I AM- answered Moses
“take off your sandals, this is holy ground” – the first time ‘holy’ was introduced to men, it meant ‘something different’, ‘separate’, ‘set-apart’
“I have heard the cries of my people, free them!”, God charges Moses
-I AM NOT- Moses replies
“You are not”, God assures Moses, “but, I AM” -I AM WHO I AM- YAHWEH ASHER YAHWEH
-a personal God has a personal name! Understood in ancient near-eastern custom, this name also explained the essence of the beholder. The name gives credit to no one else. By nature it has no origin, no beginning, it simply is. I AM. Yahweh. It has no source, it just simply has always been. The name is its own source. I AM WHO I AM. I AM the source of my own IS’ness. Yahweh Asher Yahweh: the eternal answer for all questions yesterday, today, and forever.
-It should be understood that God’s name is not God. ‘God’ is simply a positional title. His actual name is pronounced ‘Yahweh’ in the original Hebrew. In English it’s best translated, ‘I AM’. But the Jews were so afraid to say it, read it, lest they take the Lord’s name in vain. We do the same thing. Instead of ‘I AM’, in place of it we’ve written capital L-O-R-D in most instances. But the true name of the Lord, I AM, is found over 6800x in the Word of God. It seems that a personal God who calls men by name would prefer men called back in the name of the LORD, I AM.
1300 years after God first gave His name to Moses, 2500 years after Abraham lived and died, Jesus not only spoke the unspoken name but He took credit for it as His own. This, and this alone is what the Jews were ready to stone Him for.
2000 years after the fact men are still scratching their heads trying to figure out who Jesus was. But it’s simply really. By His conduct and claims Jesus left very few options open. If Jesus were a man, and not God as He claimed, then he is a crazy man or a liar, certainly not a good man. But if He is not a liar, or a lunatic, well then He is the L-O-R-D, the I AM as He told those Jewish men on that fateful day.
if that’s the past, what about the future?
Now that we know the truth of the past, can we move forward with confidence?
-Well, the essence of ‘I AM’ is expanded upon in the final book of the Bible – things yet to come – the book of Revelation. There’s a song they sing in Heaven,
Holy Holy Holy
(so set-apart from His creation who sing to Him that they say it 3x)
IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY
WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME
-This is the essence of ‘I AM’, who was, is, and is to come. Complete with no beginning and no end. The book of Revelation was written by John the disciple of Jesus. John was on the Island of Patmos when an angel bearing witness to Jesus Christ visited him. The resulting vision formed the content of the book. Early on Jesus introduces Himself to John. This was His title, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
In the past God called Himself the I AM. The ‘I AM’ who caused Moses to stammer in fear, “I am not.” When Jesus walked with men He declared Himself to be the same I AM. And in a time yet to come every tribe, tongue, language, and nation will bow before Jesus confessing that He is the Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega who was and is and is to come.
But for now let’s focus on a young girl who was approached by an Angel in her lowly state and given an incredible task. Her reply was simple, “HOW CAN THIS BE, FOR I AM NOT?” The answer back was even simpler, “YOU ARE NOT, BUT HE IS.”
Jesus: the Miracle Birth (Christmas)