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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Before Abraham was, I Am! (Pt.1)

(Part 1)

“But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you, they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell  them? God replied to Moses, ‘I Am Who I Am” Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.”-Exodus 3:14 (NLT)

In Exodus 3 we read the account of God instructing Moses to lead the people of Israel out of captivity. Moses has a laundry list of excuses why he cannot do it, but one thing he poses to God is this question: “What if they ask me Your name?” God’s response? Tell them I Am sent you. The phrase I Am is heralded and held in high esteem as a name by which we refer to God. These two tiny words take on even deeper meaning when, in the Book of John, Jesus refers to Himself 8 times using the title of I Am to describe Himself to God’s people.

This is a very bold move on Jesus part. For hundreds of years the people of Israel knew God by that name. By ascribing that name to Himself; He is essentially equating Himself with God:

“Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham? Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am! At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.”-John 8:56-58 (NLT)

What did Jesus say that made them so furious? It was His use of the phrase, I Am! Jesus was declaring that He was without beginning. He was claiming to be divine!

“So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I. So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making Himself equal with God.”-John 5:16-18 (NLT)

He was declaring to the world that He was not simply a mere man, He was the Son of God. Many considered this to be blasphemy, which according to the Law was punishable by death. The question of Jesus Christ’s divine nature is a crucial truth.
A truth we must settle in our hearts before we can have a genuine relationship with Him.

C.S. Lewis wrote in his book Mere Christianity:

“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 patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or He is Lord!  This is a question we must each settle in our hearts. If He is who He claimed to be; then each of us is responsible for our actions and attitudes towards Him.

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church