Thursday, April 18, 2013

Another I AM - continued

Another I AM

Azalias

The Jews responded to Him, “Aren’t we right in saying that You’re a  Samaritan and have a demon?”  “I do not have a demon,” Jesus answered. “On the contrary, I honor My Father and you dishonor Me. I do not seek My glory;  the One who seeks it also judges.  I assure you: If anyone keeps My word, he will never see death—ever!”

Then the Jews said, “Now we know You have a demon. Abraham died and so did the prophets. You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death—ever!’  Are You greater than our father Abraham who died? Even the prophets died. Who do You pretend to be?”

 “If I glorify Myself,” Jesus answered, “My glory is nothing. My Father—you say about Him, ‘He is our God’—He is the One who glorifies Me. You’ve never known Him, but I know Him. If I were to say I don’t know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word. Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced.”

 The Jews replied, “You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham?”

 Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.” 

At that, they picked up stones  to throw at Him.  But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex.    –– John 8:48-59
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The I AM - "ego eime," statement we will look at today is found in John, as were the other seven.  John 8:58  This is the most emphatic statement of divinity pronounced by Jesus.  It is stated in a somewhat different manner, but the words are the same, "ego eimi."  I AM that I AM.  In one short phrase, Jesus proclaimed that He was eternal, preexisted and was God.  This I AM statement is not a metaphorical I AM, but an absolute I AM statement.

Yesterday we looked at some verses that preceded this proclamation of Jesus.  Jesus was under  attack by a very angry group of Pharisees and other religious leaders.  They were upset that Jesus had undermined their authority.  Jesus had claimed that He represented God the Father on earth.  Jesus offered freedom to those who believed in Him. At this time Rome dominated Israel, but the Pharisees insisted that because they were descendants of Abraham they were free and had never been in bondage. Jesus informed them that He spoke of spiritual freedom and bondage to sin.

The religious leaders insulted Jesus.  “Aren’t we right in saying that You’re a  Samaritan and have a demon?”  This insult was a racial slur or could also be construed as implying the Jesus was born out of wedlock.  They also said that Jesus had a demon.  Jesus responds “I do not have a demon,” Jesus answered. “On the contrary, I honor My Father and you dishonor Me. I do not seek My glory;  the One who seeks it also judges.  John 8:49  Jesus tells them He honors His Father who is God. He tells them that He is not seeking glory for Himself, but is glorifying God. A person who glorifies God could not be demon possessed.  Jesus tell them that He is comfortable in allowing God to judge Him and His words.  God the Father will assure the glory of His Son,  Jesus. And God will judge those who dishonor Him.

"I assure you: If anyone keeps My word, he will never see death—ever!”  John 8:51  Jesus tells them that if anyone would follow Him and obey His teachings they would have eternal life.  Physical death could not separate them from this eternal life.  the religious leaders thought that Jesus was referring only to physical life. They respond to Jesus with:"Are You greater than our father Abraham who died? Even the prophets died. Who do You pretend to be?”  John 8:53  The leaders answer with Abraham is dead. All the prophets are dead. How can you say that those who keep your word will never die?  Once again Jesus is speaking on a spiritual level and the Pharisees are thinking, talking and acting on a physical level.  Spiritual death is being a slave to sin.  It is remaining in unforgiven sin. Death is an eternal separation from fellowship with God, is the judicial punishment for sin.  Romans 6:23   Since Jesus died as the substitute for His people, those who belong to Him are freed from the penalty of sin because Christ endured it for them.  Are You greater than our father Abraham?    The simple answer is YES. Abraham and the prophets, great as they were in the history of redemption, could not take away death. Only Christ has triumphed over the grave.

“If I glorify Myself,” Jesus answered, “My glory is nothing. My Father—you say about Him, ‘He is our God’—He is the One who glorifies Me. You’ve never known Him, but I know Him. If I were to say I don’t know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word. Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced.” John 8:54-56  When Jesus was bodily on earth with His ministry, He was a humble servent.  He did not seek the honor and glory that truly belonged to Him as God the Son.  His glory was only seen by those who had eyes to see it.  And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14  Christ's glory was apparent in His resurrection and ascension.  It will be seen fully at His Second Coming.  Jesus told them that He knew God and they did not know Him. He told them that if they knew God they would believe Him.  He told them that their father Abraham looked for the one who  would fulfill all that was promised to him by God. All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  Hebrews 11:13  This statement tell us that the Old Testament times, believers were saved through faith in Christ.  This was revealed to them by God as His redemptive plan for all people.   “And there is salvation in ano one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12

 The Jews replied, “You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham?” John 8:57   At this time the age of 50 was the standard retirement age. Jesus was probably about 30 years old at this time.   The Jewish leaders were saying that Jesus was not old enough to have seen Abraham.

Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.  John 8:58    The Greek word αμην is word  is the word used for verily.  It is translated as verily, so be it , Yes, indeed or I. tell you the truth.  No mater how is is translated it is still Amen. It is stated here twice.  Amen, Amen, I say to you...  Jesus then made a statement that no one could really misunderstand.  It was very clearly a claim to deity.  egō eimi. If Jesus was simply referring to age, he would have said, Before Abraham was, I was. But Jesus said before Abraham was born—I am!  This was another "ego eimi" statement. This was a statement of eternal self- existence. This statement denotes “self-identity in self-sufficiency.” The Son of God, unlike all mortals, never has a beginning. He is eternal; and He is God.  Abraham was mortal, he had a beginning and he died.  Jesus was self existing.  He always was and always will be.  Jesus said “I AM WHO I AM”  When Moses asked God who he should tell the Israelites had sent him to deliver them from Egypt, God answered:  “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” Exodus 3:14

At that, they picked up stones  to throw at Him.  But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex.  According to the law, death by stoning was the prescribed punishment for blasphemy.  Jesus had just proclaimed that He was God.  But it wasn't blasphemy, He is God.  Then Jesus was gone. Perhaps by divine intervention from God the Father.  It was not yet time for His crucifixion.

There are many times that Jesus stated that He was God.  This "I Am" was very clearly a statement of deity. The Pharisees and other religious leaders knew that was the claim of Jesus, that is why the planned to stone Him.  Perhaps some of them believed what He said, but His methods did not fit their idea of the Messiah. Perhaps after His death and resurrection they did believe. Perhaps their hearts remained hardened.

There are people today that say that Jesus never equated Himself to God. Many will use that as an excuse for not believing in Him as God the Son.  But Jesus did say that He was God., For them to say that He never claimed He was God is wrong. It is just that –– an excuse, and a poor one. Many people say that Jesus was a great man.  An excellent teacher.  They say He was a loving man with great words of wisdom.  These same people revere the man Jesus, but the will not accept that He is God.

A trilemma is a difficult choice from three options, each of which is (or appears) unacceptable or unfavorable.  Possibly the original person with this argument for the divinity of Jesus was the Scots preacher "Rabbi" John Duncan (1796–1870). He said "Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine. There is no getting out of this trilemma. It is inexorable."  C. S. Lewis is responsible known for his famous apologetic quote know as the trilemma.  His trilemma was that Jesus was either  Lord, Liar, or Lunatic.

"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 patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.   ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God."      –– C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

If you have not accepted that Jesus is The I AM.  Now is the time to do it.  Do not wait until tomorrow!




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