Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Day 33 - Jesus' I Am Statements - Part One

The seven popular "I Am" statements in the book of John are some of believers' favourite sayings in the whole Word of God. In them, Jesus reveals much about Himself and what He wants to do or be in each of our lives. By declaring Himself the "I Am", Jesus was clearly identifying Himself as God, the God of Israel, the God of the whole earth, the Creator of the universe. The Old Testament name "LORD" (with all caps) is Jehovah, "I Am", the self-existent God. Consider the following passages:

Exodus 3:13-15 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Exodus 6:2-3 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.

I.) It is quite interesting to note that the name Jehovah is in our King James Bible seven times (including the above passage):

Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

Exodus 17:15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:

Judges 6:24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

There are nine compound names of the LORD in the Old Testament (ie. Jehovahjireh, etc.) - though only three of them are transliterated into English. I will cover these nine names in Friday's devotional.

Psalms 83:18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

Isaiah 26:4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

II.) There are eight "I Am He" statements made in the book of Isaiah, clearly indicating that the speaker was God Himself:

(In various places in the OT, "I am" and "I am He" were equivalent statements.)

1) Isaiah 41:4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

Notice that here the LORD refers to Himself as "the first, and with the last." Very similar to Jesus' own statements in the book of Revelation. (See next section.)

2) Isaiah 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

There is only one true God! He is the LORD, Jehovah, the I Am.

Isaiah 43:11-12 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

We are to be His witnesses that He is the true God, the only Saviour!

3) Isaiah 43:13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

Only the LORD God has all power, all authority - He is omnipotent! No one can hinder the work that the LORD is doing!

4) Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

Only the LORD has the power to blot out our sins - this He did by shedding His precious blood and dying for us on the cross. I love how this verse says He did it for His own sake.

The LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake - 1 Samuel 12:22.
For thy great mercies' sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them - Nehemiah 9:30-31.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake - Psalm 23:3.
He saved them for his name's sake - Psalm 106:8.
His righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable - Isaiah 42:21.
For my name's sake will I defer mine anger - Isaiah 48:9-11.
Even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you - Ephesians 4:32.
Your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake - 1 John 2:12.

Many times in the Psalms and the Prophets, God is appealed to for the sake of His mercy, His righteousness, His goodness, His name, His truth.

5) Isaiah 46:4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

The LORD Himself is the one watching over His children, carrying them, bearing them, and delivering them from the trials they face in life. Everytime I read statements like this, I am reminded of the Footprints poem - when I falter, He is the one who lifts me up and carries me!

Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

6) Isaiah 48:12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.

The LORD is the one we are to hearken to; we are to heed His Word. He is the one who has called us into fellowship with Him. The LORD foreknew who would respond to His call of salvation - those that will, He promised to predestine, to call, to justify, and to glorify them. Praise the LORD for His grace and for all those things He has done for us, even when we didn't know Him yet!

7) Isaiah 51:12 I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;

What a tremendous verse! It is the LORD that comforts us! It is the LORD that gives us freedom from fear. It is the LORD that redeemed us, and gives us His gladness and joy!

Isaiah 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

8) Isaiah 52:6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.

When Biblical prophecies are fulfilled, God's people will know that it was the LORD fulfilling His Word. What assurance that the LORD will always keep His Word and fulfill every one of His precious promises!

III.) Jesus' seven names/titles in Revelation chapter one:

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Revelation 1:17-18 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

a) Alpha and Omega - Jesus is everything we need in life. Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. This is similar to "the first and the last."

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

b) The beginning and the ending - All creation finds its beginning and its ending in Him.

c) Which is, and which was, and which is to come - A comparison of Revelation 1 verses 4 and 8 will reveal the Deity of Jesus Christ. In verse 4, God the Father is called "Him which is, and which was, and which is to come." In verse 8, Jesus is called by this same name, thereby giving Jesus equality with the Father.

d) The Lord - obviously equating Himself with the LORD of the Old Testament.

e) The Almighty - Only God is almighty.

f) The first and the last - This is a direct claim to Jesus' Deity - and there is only one true God - one God in three persons, the Trinity or Tri-une God.

Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Many cults deny the deity of Christ and will twist or change Bible passages (or even make their own corrupt version!) to suit their devilish doctrines. A comparison between Revelation 1:8, 11, 17-18; and 22:13 clearly prove that "the first and the last" is Jehovah, the Almighty God, AND He is the one who died and rose again! Jesus is God - not a god, but THE GOD, the God of the Bible, the true and living God!

g) He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore

Praise the LORD our Saviour died for our sins, and rose again!

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

IV.) Seven other less well-known "I Am" statements Jesus made in the book of John:

1) John 4:26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

Here Jesus declares to the Samaritan woman that He is the Messiah, He is the Saviour that was prophesied since the fall of man.

2) John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Unless we believe that Jesus is the "I Am", the LORD, the eternal self-existent God, then we will die in our sins! That makes the deity of Christ one of the fundamentals of the faith, that we must believe in order to be saved.

3) John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

Since Jesus was lifted up on the cross, many throughout history have come to realize who He truly is - the LORD God coming down from Heaven to save us from our sins.

4) John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

He didn't say "I was", but "I Am" - declaring Himself God manifest in the flesh - stating that it was He Himself who spoke to Abraham all those years before!

5) John 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.

The context here is Jesus' quotation of an Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah being betrayed:

John 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

Various other OT passages teach that the Messiah would be the Mighty God, God with us, the Everlasting Father, the Saviour whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (ie. indicating that He is eternal). Jesus was saying that when those prophecies about the Messiah were completely fulfilled in His life, His ministry, His death, burial and resurrection, then many would come to believe that He IS that prophesied Messiah, the LORD God Himself.

6) John 18:5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.

Jesus knew the time for Him to be betrayed, falsely slandered, then led to the cross was at hand. He was the one Judas was seeking to turn over to the mob. He went forward to head them off, and show that He was in control - that even though evil men were seeking to kill Him, He was the one who was laying down His life of His own free will. He was not a martyr, but the sacrificial Lamb, the Lamb of God, dying for the sins of the whole world!

John 10:17-18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

John 18:4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

Notice their response to Jesus' identification of Himself - a declaration spoken with true power, a declaration that showed who He truly was to these trembling men who sought Him:

John 18:6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

7) John 18:8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:

Taking control of the situation, Jesus put the focus of the armed mob upon Himself, and gave His apostles opportunity to flee unharmed, while He was led away to be crucified (the end result of the mock trials that took place all that night).

Acts 2:22-24 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Acts 4:27-28 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Even in what would be our Saviour's darkest day, God was still in complete control of the events - only allowing what fulfilled and suited His ultimate purpose. Praise the LORD for providing for our salvation!

In parts Two and Three, I will cover the compound names of the LORD in the Old Testament and Jesus' seven "I Am" statements in the Gospel of John. I am sure you will be blessed, as I always am whenever meditating on who our Saviour truly is, and what He has done and has promised to do in our lives.

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