The 8th “I AM” ?

Image result for John 8:58

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” (Exodus 3:14 NKJV)

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (NJKV)

Jesús les dijo: De cierto, de cierto os digo: Antes que Abraham fuese, yo soy. (RVR 1960)

For some reason this declaration is not included in the usual “Seven Great I AM Statements of Jesus” of Jesus and often overlooked, which is exactly what I did at first. Instead of backtracking after I realized it day four I figured I would add amend the series.

This is another of Jesus’ dogmatic declarations in fact so much so that immediately after he makes it those hearing it pick up rocks to stone Him to death (John 8:59) Then they took up stones to throw at Him. What caused such a reaction? Let us break it down; I will use the ESV and Greek Lexicon:

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.

said to them: Strong’s Greek 2036: Answer, bid, bring word, command. A primary verb; to speak or say.

Truly: Strong’s Greek 281: Of Hebrew origin; properly, firm, i.e. trustworthy; adverbially, surely.

I say: Strong’s Greek 3004:(a) I say, speak; I mean, mention, tell, (b) I call, name, especially in the pass., (c) I tell, command.

you: Strong’s Greek 4771: You. The person pronoun of the second person singular; thou

before: Strong’s Greek 4250Formerly, before. Adverb from pro; prior, sooner.

was: Strong’s Greek 1096A prolongation and middle voice form of a primary verb; to cause to be, i.e. to become, used with great latitude.

I: Strong’s Greek 1473: I, the first-person pronoun. A primary pronoun of the first person I.

am: Strong’s Greek 1510: I am, exist. The first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist.

I know I rarely use such lengthy breakdowns like this but in this case it is for clarity of the text. Look carefully at what Jesus is claiming here; or better what He is not. Jesus does not just say that He was around before Abraham. He says before Abraham was I existed. Jesus declares (again) Himself God the preexistent incarnate God. 

Again this is no random off the cuff declaration, Jesus is not ignorant of the Jewish Law (Torah) even as a boy (Luke 2:41-52) so He knew the implications of this statement. The problem as always was not with Jesus’ declaration but with the heart of man listening to it. Read the Opening words of the Gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [a]comprehend it.

Jesus was pre-existent there from before time and space as we can define it. He came to illuminate the darkness (open the sinful hearts of man) and man did not want the light (John 3:19). Jesus came for a purpose to save the dark world (sinners like me) will you walk into the light today? 

 

Jesus Said “I AM” Part VI

Image result for “I am the true vine.”

I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. You are already clean because of the word which I have given you [the teachings which I have discussed with you]. Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me.5 I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. (JOHN 15:1-6 AMP)

Yo soy la vid verdadera, y mi Padre es el viñador. Todo sarmiento que en mí no da fruto, lo quita; y todo el que da fruto, lo poda[a] para que dé más fruto. Vosotros ya estáis limpios por la palabra que os he hablado. Permaneced en mí, y yo en vosotros. Como el sarmiento no puede dar fruto por sí mismo si no permanece en la vid, así tampoco vosotros si no permanecéis en mí. Yo soy la vid, vosotros los sarmientos; el que permanece en mí y yo en él, ése da mucho fruto, porque separados de mí nada podéis hacer. (LBLA)

We have reached out final installment of our series on Jesus seven great “I AM” statements. Let us recap for a moment:

  1. “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35)
  2. “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)
  3. I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7,9)
  4. “I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11, 14)
  5. “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)
  6. “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)

 

Today’s verse has significant doctrinal implications that are often overlooked in modern evangelical circles. First as always CONTEXT :), we must look before and after our reading to get the Whole Counsel of God. Jesus has just finished telling the Apostles (13:16-31) about the coming of a helper (Holy Spirit). After giving them this great news He drops the bomb on them that along with the Holy Spirit there will be this other spirit, Satan, also roaming about to mess up their days. Yet Jesus as usual does not leave them hanging, He begins Chapter 14 with the analogy we see above of a Vine and branches. 

Let us unfold scripture some and see if we can see what implications are here.

Why a Vine? Simply it was a very common sight of the times. Grape vines were everywhere in ancient Judea. So the Apostles could understand the picture Jesus was painting with words. A Vine once mature is strong, it is resilient and produces a lot of fruit. 

So makes this declaration I am the true Vine, He is telling the Apostles that He is that strong resilient place that they can depend upon when the evil one comes. To insure they get it, he reaffirms the Father’s role in eternal life My Father is the vinedresser.

In v.2-3 we see that true believers are those who are like branches of the vine. Those that bear fruit are He [repeatedly] prunes constantly maintained (reproved, and disciplined). Those that bear no fruit He takes away, so as to not choke out the good vines and spoil the fruit. 

We see Jesus’ stablemen in v.4  Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. Which does not seem to give most folks any issue. Modern evangelicals get it we need Christ to bear fruit. 

It is His declaration in v.5 that is often overlooked: apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. I hope you can see the doctrinal implications here. Jesus is, as I noted in yesterdays “I AM” study, making another very dogmatic declaration. He is clearly and unequivocally saying that apart from being in Union with Him all your works amount to nothing. Nothing we do spiritually is of any value apart from (disconnect from) Christ and even non-spiritual things done outside of Christ have little to no value in most all cases unless they are done for the Glory of God. How many churches are preaching and teaching this today? How many “Christians” are living this life as true branches of the vine today?

Additional Reading:

Grace to You: The Vine and the Branches

 

 

 

Jesus Said “I AM” Part VI

Image result for John 14:6 RVR 1960
(RVR 1690)
(KJV)

About a dozen years ago I wrote an article for a small Prison Ministry newsletter that apparently was quite controversial. In it I made the statement that Jesus was the most “dogmatic” person to ever live. When one considers that Dogmatic today conjures up the idea of arrogance, narrow-minded and unmoving compared to the more normative or biblical definition of Positive; asserted with authority; authoritative¹.

There are three most basic dogmas (settled opinion; a principle, maxim or tenet) of the Christianity, which are key to the Christian Faith. The three are the deity of Christ (John 1:114), His substitutionary death and resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:21), and salvation from sin by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8–9). All other religions reject Christ’s deity and teach that salvation is achieved and/or retained by some form of human works.

Jesus in our text above makes what many outside the Christian faith (an unfortunately toady more and more claiming falsely to be of the faith) look at as a very arrogant statement. Basically He is saying It is my way or the Highway. Is that arrogance and narrow mindedness or just the Christ stating a Positive with assertive authority?  

Let us put this into some context. Backing up to Chapter 13 for a moment Peter asks Jesus where He is (or has) to go. Jesus responds that where He goes Peter can not follow, but Jesus rebukes His and tells Him that Peter will soon deny Him three times. 

Jesus continues the dialog in the opening of Chapter 14 v.1-5 easing the minds of His disciples. Of course there is always one, Thomas who like Peter wants to know more and says in v.5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

So when Jesus makes this profound declaration in v.6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me it is not out of arrogance or high mindedness. Jesus’ response is His typical indirect answer to the Apostles, they (Thomas in this case) want to know what town He is headed to next. Jesus’ concern from day one of His ministry has been John 6:38 to do the will of the Father and to John 18:37 tell or bear witness to the truth.

So what is the Will of the Father? John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.Jesus came to provide the means for man to be saved. He also came to proclaim absolute truth. This proclamation flies in the face of what we see in the world today which is relativism.

If you call yourself a Christian you too must be Dogmatic about your Faith.


Study Question: “What did Jesus mean when He said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’ (John 14:6)?

I am – In the Greek language, “I am” is a very intense way of referring to oneself. It would be comparable to saying, “I myself, and only I, am.” Several other times in the Gospels we find Jesus using these words. In Matthew 22:32 Jesus quotes Exodus 3:6, where God uses the same intensive form to say, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” In John 8:58, Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.” The Jews clearly understood Jesus to be calling Himself God because they took up stones to stone Him for committing blasphemy in equating Himself with God. In Matthew 28:20, as Jesus gave the Great Commission, He gave it emphasis by saying, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” When the soldiers came seeking Jesus in the garden the night before His crucifixion, He told them, “I am he,” and His words were so powerful that the soldiers fell to the ground (John 18:4–6). These words reflect the very name of God in Hebrew, Yahweh, which means “to be” or “the self-existing one.” It is the name of power and authority, and Jesus claimed it as His own.

The way – Jesus used the definite article to distinguish Himself as “the only way.” A way is a path or route, and the disciples had expressed their confusion about where He was going and how they could follow. As He had told them from the beginning, Jesus was again telling them (and us) “follow me.” There is no other path to heaven, no other way to the Father. Peter reiterated this same truth years later to the rulers in Jerusalem, saying about Jesus, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The exclusive nature of the only path to salvation is expressed in the words “I am the way.”

The truth – Again Jesus used the definite article to emphasize Himself as “the only truth.” Psalm 119:142 says, “Your law is the truth.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded His listeners of several points of the Law, then said, “But I say unto you . . .” (Matthew 5:222832343944), thereby equating Himself with the Law of God as the authoritative standard of righteousness. In fact, Jesus said that He came to fulfill the Law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). Jesus, as the incarnate Word of God (John 1:1) is the source of all truth.

The life – Jesus had just been telling His disciples about His impending death, and now He was claiming to be the source of all life. In John 10:17–18, Jesus declared that He was going to lay down His life for His sheep, and then take it back again. He spoke of His authority over life and death as being granted to Him by the Father. In John 14:19, He gave the promise that “because I live, you also will live.” The deliverance He was about to provide was not a political or social deliverance (which most of the Jews were seeking), but a true deliverance from a life of bondage to sin and death to a life of freedom in eternity.

In these words, Jesus was declaring Himself the great “I Am,” the only path to heaven, the only true measure of righteousness, and the source of both physical and spiritual life. He was staking His claim as the very God of Creation, the Lord who blessed Abraham, and the Holy One who inhabits eternity. He did this so the disciples would be able to face the dark days ahead and carry on the mission of declaring the gospel to the world. Of course, we know from Scripture that they still didn’t understand, and it took several visits from their risen Lord to shake them out of their disbelief. Once they understood the truth of His words, they became changed people, and the world has never been the same.

So how do we follow Him today? The same way the disciples did long ago. They heard the words of Jesus and believed them. They took His words and obeyed them. They confessed their sins to Jesus as their Lord and God. They believed that He died to take the punishment of their sins and rose from the dead to give them new life. They followed His example and command to tell others the truth about sin, righteousness, and judgment. When we follow Him in “the way,” we can be assured of following Him all the way to heaven.

 

 

 

 

¹ Dogmatic 

Jesus Said “I AM” Part III

Image result for John 10 Door

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the doorof the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by mehe will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.                        John 10:1-10 (ESV)

De cierto, de cierto os digo: El que no entra por la puerta en el redil de las ovejas, sino que sube por otra parte, ése es ladrón y salteador. Mas el que entra por la puerta, el pastor de las ovejas es.A éste abre el portero, y las ovejas oyen su voz; y a sus ovejas llama por nombre, y las saca. Y cuando ha sacado fuera todas las propias, va delante de ellas; y las ovejas le siguen, porque conocen su voz. Mas al extraño no seguirán, sino huirán de él, porque no conocen la voz de los extraños. Esta alegoría les dijo Jesús; pero ellos no entendieron qué era lo que les decía. Volvió, pues, Jesús a decirles: De cierto, de cierto os digo: Yo soy la puerta de las ovejasTodos los que antes de mí vinieron, ladrones son y salteadores; pero no los oyeron las ovejas. Yo soy la puerta; el que por mí entrare, será salvo; y entrará, y saldrá, y hallará pastos. 10 El ladrón no viene sino para hurtar y matar y destruir; yo he venido para que tengan vida, y para que la tengan en abundancia. (RVR 1960)

The third in our series on Jesus’ seven great “I AM” statements in the Gospel of John.  Again in case you missed Part I the obvious Jesus is beyond a doubt inferring He is divine, God, by calling Himself “I AM” this is something the Jewish people, especially the leaders would not miss.

Here Jesus repeats Himself, if you are like me anytime a teacher repeated themselves it meant take a note because this was important and most likely going to be on the test. While not exactly a test Jesus is placing serious emphasis on this I AM statement. 

Let us break it down. I find it interesting that this (or any writing in John) is not recognized as a “Parable of Jesus” to me at least it fits the basic criteria I guess we shall just call it an analogy. Anyway I digress, Jesus begins in v.1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber” with a continuation of His discourse from the closing of Chapter 9He makes a clear and unconditional statement, their is only one way into the sheepfold ( both the church and Kingdom of God are implied and inferred) and that is through the door. 

In v.2 Jesus states that the first person in the door is the Shepherd of the flock But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. Note He has not made any distinction of office or position here (as of yet) just stating a Shepherd, (leader) is always first in guiding the way. 

Jesus makes it clear in v.3-6 why a Good Shepherd is always first in, To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.” Jesus is saying, the Shepherd opens the door, (or gate) and calls His Sheep by name and leads them out of the pen. They follow Him because they know and understand His Voice.  In today’s world as a practical application we can see this as Jesus using the Church through preaching of the Word, to call out His chosen people from the sinfulness of the world. Many sit in pews today but have no real understanding they have no been truly converted because they have failed to heed the call of the Good Shepherd and repent of their sins and surrender all. 

Here in v.7 we get to the first of two I AM statements. Jesus is making a bold declaration clearing saying it is He that is both the door and Good Shepherd, compare this to His statement in John 14:6. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 

To insure clarity Jesus says v.8-10 that there have been many false prophets, in this case those who would try and corrupt or distort the Law and mislead the Jewish people. He came to insure that the Law was not corrupted but fulfilled   All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. His repeat of I am the door, emphasizes the fact that there is only one way into the kingdom of God. That many will come making promises for itchy ears, but the abundant life is a life with more meaning than material wealth and prosperity Colossians 3:2-3, Matthew 6:25-32  it is an eternal life. 

 

 

 

Jesus Said “I am” Part II

Image result for i am light

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”             (John 8:12 ESV)

Otra vez Jesús les habló, diciendo: Yo soy la luz del mundo; el que me sigue, no andará en tinieblas, sino que tendrá la luz de la vida. (RVR 1960)

The second in our series on Jesus’ seven great “I AM” statements in the Gospel of John.  Again in case you missed Part I the obvious Jesus is beyond a doubt inferring He is divine, God, by calling Himself “I AM” this is something the Jewish people, especially the leaders would not miss. 

Why say I am the light of the world, here at this point in the Gospel? Context, (yes I know my favorite word) let us look back for a moment at Chapter 7. Jesus has been in shall we say discussions with the chief priests and Pharisees, who as usual are trying to trap him and find something to use against Him.  They came to arrest Him but the guards/soldiers were so intrigued by Jesus’ words and teachings they returned without Him. 

John begins Chapter 8 with the story about the Women Caught in Adultery. This almost seems out of sync with the story but that is life, events never seem to unfold as we would like or plan them too do they. 

So now we get to out text for today. Most commentators agree, it connects to the Feast of Booths in Chapter 7. One of the rituals performed during the Festival was to light lamps with wicks made from the worm robes of the priests. Jesus’s in rebuking the chief priests and pharisees makes His great proclamation I am the light of the world!

What did Jesus mean when He said; Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. There is even a greater meaning connected to the Feast of Booths that some seem to skip over, that we can not. The main reason(s) for the Feast were twofold; celebrate the harvest and remember God’s salvation of the people of Israel. 

Jesus makes it simple do you want the harvest of eternal life? Walk in my light.


Walking implies activity; but it must be of a continuous kind. Neither this step, nor that, nor the next, can make a walk. We must be moving onward and onward, and remain in that exercise, or we cease from walking. Holy walking includes perseverance in obedience, and continuance in service. Not he that begins, but he that continues is the true Christian; final perseverance enters into the very essence of the believer’s life: the true pilgrims of Zion go from strength to strength. This suggests that walking implies progress. He that takes one step, and another step, and still stands where he was, has not walked. There is such a thing as the goose step, and I am afraid many Christians are wonderfully familiar with it: they are where they used to be, and are half inclined to congratulate themselves upon that fact, since they might have backslidden. They have not advanced in the heavenly pilgrimage, and how can they be said to walk? My hearer, is your life a walk with God and towards God? If so, our subject has to deal with you. May the Spirit of all grace lead us into the heart of it!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

 

Jesus Said “I am” Part 1

Image result for John 6:35

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35 (ESV)

Jesús les dijo: Yo soy el pan de vida; el que a mí viene, nunca tendrá hambre; y el que en mí cree, no tendrá sed jamás. (RVR 1960) 

Here we have the first of Jesus’ self proclaiming seven great “I AM” statements found in the Gospel of John. Over the next week we will look at each.

First the OBVIOUS, Jesus saying he is the “I am” is a direct link to Exodus 3:13–14 and God saying the same thing to Mosses. I have heard and had people argue that Jesus never claimed to be God, excuse me read the book; yes He did and here is where He did it first. 

First context, Jesus finished feeding the multitude, John 6:1-15 the previous day and the disciples and He had crossed the lake to Capernaum.

When the crowd from the day before discover that Jesus is missing the chase after Him (John 6:22-25). Jesus is no fool and quickly calls them out for their own laziness and foolishness (John 6:26-27). For they have come to fill their bellies with free food (imagine that a welfare program) and to witness miracles i.e. the “show”. They neither sought nor had desire for eternal or spiritual food. Again they misunderstand Jesus and what to know what “works” they must do to get or earn this eternal food (John 6:28-34).

When we reach our main text v.35 the multitude are seriously confused. After Jesus drops the Great I AM on them they are even more so and some even are mad thinking He has blasphemed. 

Jesus makes some things very clear in verses 35-40

    • He is the bread of Life, the only food for eternity v.35
    • The Father sends those who will believe to Jesus v.37
    • Those that truly come to Jesus are His forever v.37
    • He is the One sent by God v.38
    • It is God the Fathers will for Jesus to execute this plan v.39-40
John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life,…. Christ is so called, because he gives life to dead sinners: men in a state of nature are dead in trespasses and sins; and whatever they feed upon tends to death; Christ, the true bread, only gives life, which is conveyed by the word, and made effectual by the Spirit: and because he supports and maintains the life he gives; it is not in the power of a believer to support the spiritual life he has; nor can he live on anything short of Christ; and there is enough in Christ for him to live upon: and because he quickens, and makes the saints lively in the exercise of grace, and discharge of duty, and renews their spiritual strength, and secures for them eternal life.

He that cometh to me shall never hunger; not corporeally to hear him preach, or preached, or merely to his ordinances, to baptism, or the Lord’s table; but so as to believe in him, feed, and live upon him, as the next clause explains it:

and he that believeth on me shall never thirst; and which is owing, not to the power and will of man, but to divine teachings, and the powerful drawings of the efficacious grace of God; see John 6:44. Now of such it is said, that they shall never hunger and thirst; which is true of them in this life, though not to be understood as there were no sinful desires in them; much less, that there are no spiritual hungerings and thirstings after they are come to Christ; but that they shall not desire any other food but Christ; they shall be satisfied with him; nor shall they hereafter be in a starving and famishing condition, or want any good thing: and in the other world there will be no desires after that which is sinful, nor indeed after outward ordinances, in order to enjoy communion with God in them, as now, for they will then be needless; nor shall they have any uneasy desires after Christ, and his grace, and the enjoyment of him, since he will be all in all to them