DayBreaks for 12/31/14 – The Great I AM
One of the striking things about John’s gospel is how it depicts the life and ministry of Jesus. The other gospels tell us stories about Jesus. Then, like the disciples, we are left to ask, “Who is this, that wind and sea obey him? Who is this who feeds the multitude on a couple of loaves and a few fish?” But in the Gospel of John, there’s no doubt who Jesus is because he tells us – over and over. Usually he does so with a statement starting with “I am.” Put him in a any situation and he will clarify both his identify and his mission.
You can put Jesus in the desert surrounded by disgruntled people, and Jesus says, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty (John 6:35).
Put him in the midst of a confused crowd who are asking, “Who are you, Jesus? What makes you different from all the other gurus, rabbis, and religious leaders?” And Jesus says, I am the gate for the sheep. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture” (10:7, 9). He is defining himself.
If you place him at the graveside in the middle of people doubled over with grief and you will find Jesus saying, I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live (11:25).
Surround him with people who feel discouraged by difficulties and Jesus says, I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (15:5).
Where ever you look in John, in one situation after another, Jesus defines himself and says, “This is who I am….” In the eighth chapter, Jesus says, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (8:12). His words echo the opening words of the Fourth Gospel, where the writer defines the person and work of Jesus in terms of light. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people … The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world (1:3-4, 9).
Jesus says, I am the light of the world. We might expect to hear this kind of statement in these days shortly after Christmas. After all, not long ago we gathered together and heard the prophet Isaiah proclaim, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. We don’t know if Isaiah had any idea who or what he was talking about, yet we celebrate Christmas as a festival of light. We string up twinkle lights on fir trees. We illumine our houses. We burn candles in the windows and plug in GE bulbs on the shrubbery. We burn up the kilowatts because Jesus Christ is born. In the bleak midwinter, why not shine a little light?
In fact, why not shine that light all year long? He is, after all, the Great I AM! Whatever is going on in your life, may you find meaning in one of His great I AM claims! He has a message for YOU….
PRAYER: Holy Spirit, we ask that you not let us forget the Great I AM throughout this year and for as long as we live! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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