Discovering the ‘I Am’

Day 33

John 5 & 6

One of the great discoveries to be made in the Gospel of John is the primacy of the Father-Son relationship of the Living God and His only begotten Son. The great ambition of Jesus was to fully obey His Father and the highest priority of the Father is to honor His Son. Heaven and hell hang in the balance by how we relate to God’s Son whom the Father has sworn above all things to honor for His obedience.

He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

Our relationship with God is entirely predicated on how we honor or dishonor the Son of God by our obedience or disobedience to Him. God will honor His Son in two eternal ways: By welcoming all who honor His Son into His everlasting Kingdom and casting all who dishonor His Son into everlasting hell.

Jesus’ sole ambition in life was to do the will of His Father. He did not seek to do His own will or to do what seemed right to Him; He only sought to do what the Father was doing.

The Son can do nothing of Himself, but whatever He sees the Father do.

In the early days of my ministry I ran myself ragged trying to convince certain people get on fire and stay on fire for Jesus. They demanded my constant attention and even then it seemed to be a losing battle to get them to maintain any real interest in the things of God. I felt like the guy in the circus spinning plates.

Then one day God asked me this question, “Do you see Me doing anything in their lives?”

My honest reply was, “Not really.”

God’s reply was, “Then leaves them alone. Work with the people that you see Me doing something in their lives.”

I have learned that fruitfulness in ministry does not come from good ideas, or noble ideas, or compassionate ideas, but from identifying what God is doing and cooperating with Him. Our job is not to do what we think is best and ask God to bless it (which is what most ministry amounts to), but to perceive what God is doing and cooperate with it. This is the style of ministry modeled by Jesus.

John’s holy obsession is to present to us Jesus as God. John is determined that we perceive the greatest truth in history: That Jesus is God — the Eternal Word who was made flesh. John never leaves this theme, but returns to it over and over.

John is not interested in giving us a complete narrative of Jesus’ ministry — Matthew, Mark and Luke have already done that. John chooses to focus on episodes from the life of Jesus which reveal His divine identity. We see this in the episode of Jesus walking on the water. Jesus walked on the sea (for three or four miles!) to reach His disciples in the boat. When the disciples saw the figure walking on the water they cried out in fear. Jesus calmed there fears by saying, “It is I”, or rather, “I AM.” I AM — The personal name of God (Yahweh or Jehovah). Who walks on water? God walks on water…

God alone spreads out the heavens,
And treads on the waves of the sea
-Job 9:8

Jesus Himself pressed the issue of His divine identity. After Jesus fed the five thousand, they sought to make Him King (for all the wrong reasons). The next day Jesus challenged them with words like this…

The bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives His life to the world. I AM the bread of life.

When the multitudes that popularized Jesus for a free lunch but rejected Him for His “hard sayings” had all left, Jesus asked His disciples, “Do you also want to go away?”

Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know You are the Christ, the Son of God.”

Capricious crowds will follow Jesus while He is “popular” — but committed Christians have burned all their bridges because they have come to know who Jesus really is: The Son of God.

John 7 & 8

All of John 7 and 8 occur during the Feast of Tabernacles, six months before the crucifixion.

Here’s something to plug into your thinking regarding John 7:8. The Essenes observed a different festival calendar than the Pharisees and Sadducees. There is reason to believe that Jesus’ brothers sympathized with the Essenes and observed their reformed calendar, while Jesus continued to observe the traditional calendar. Bargil Pixner in his excellent book With Jesus Through Galilee: According to the Fifth Gospel* sheds some light on this.

* So you don’t misunderstand: By “the fifth gospel”, Pixner means this, “Five gospels record the life of Jesus. Four you will find in the bible and one you will find in the holy land. Experience the fifth gospel and the world of the four will open to you.” A tour of Israel is an encounter with the “fifth gospel.”

In John 8:14 Jesus says two things about Himself that the secularist can never say, and it strikes at the heart of post-modern purposelessness (which seems to lead inevitably to nihilism)…

I know where I came from and where I am going.

(Note to self: Preach on this.)

The last half of John 8 is all about the deity of Christ.

In John 8:24 Jesus says,

If you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.

Do you have to believe that Jesus is God to be saved? Yes! It does you no good to believe in a fictional Jesus, a Jesus of your own making or the false Jesus of heresy. The Jesus that saves is the Jesus that is God. The I AM. The Jesus of the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses is not God. Their “Jesus” is a lesser, created being and this false Jesus cannot save. You must believe that Jesus is God.

In John 8:41 Jesus was scandalized by an ugly rumor that probably dogged Him all of His life: The vicious lie that He was born of fornication. Other ancient sources say the rumor was that Jesus was conceived by an immoral liaison between Mary and a Roman soldier. Satan is a rumormonger. His name means gossip. Gossip comes from the pit of hell.

I find Jesus’ challenge in John 46 very interesting…

Which one of you convicts Me of sin?

Jesus lived a perfect life. I like to challenge skeptics to find fault in Jesus. If they are honest, they will have to say what Pilate said, “I find no fault in this man.” We easily find fault in everyone, but we can find no fault in Jesus. Jesus is God.

And any doubt to Jesus’ claim of divinity is absolutely obliterated when He said,

Most assuredly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.



Song of the day…

Jesus is Jehovah to Me

I can tell you’re a sincere man
And I’m tryin’ my best to understand
But your words are confusin’, it seems you’re abusin’
God’s Word that’s there in your hand

Now a Christian you say you are
But that’s stretchin’ the Truth much too far
‘Cause in Christ I doubt you believe
And Jesus is Jehovah to me

Jesus is Jehovah to me
He’s Lord and He’s King of Kings
Almighty God is He
Jesus is Jehovah to me

Now we both have said that the Lord’s commin’ back
And you’ve more than once stated that fact
Now it seems rather odd, if your prophet’s of God
Your dates have been so far off the track

Now the Watchtower can only deceive
But from Jesus you can receive
God’s Spirit comes in, and you’re born again
Singin’ Jesus is Jehovah to me

Jesus is Jehovah to me
He’s Lord and He’s King of Kings
He’s more than a man, He’s the great I AM
Jesus is Jehovah to me
If you’re really “Awake”, You’ll make no mistake
Jesus is Jehovah to me

From the album “Daniel Amos”
Words and Music by Jerry Chamberlain, Marty Dieckmeyer, Terry Taylor
1976 Maranatha! Music

(Any Daniel Amos fans out there?)