Here are a few thoughts regarding the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus and the Name of Jesus. After watching the word for word rendition of the “Gospel of John” (Visual Bible), I was stunned. My faith was challenged as I watched this actor playing the role of Jesus saying the audacious things he was saying.
If you read through John’s Gospel you can’t escape the fact that Jesus was claiming to be God. This flesh and blood, quite ordinary looking Jewish man, claimed to be God! Any serious look into who who exactly this Jesus was (and still is) forces us to wrestle with his claims and make a decision about him.
C. S. Lewis writes that for a man to make the kind of claims Jesus made he could not simply be just a prophet or just a good moral teacher. No, He would have to be much more than that or very, very much worse.
Lewis points out that either Jesus was a liar and a great deceiver, or he was a lunatic or, that he was and is exactly who he says he is. The LORD. God incarnate. The only way of salvation. The “I AM”. There is no way around it!
God has left it to you to decide. Will you believe in Jesus? Will you receive him or reject him? Will you submit to him or chase after sin? But you must not and cannot come with any patronizing nonsense about him being just a good moral teacher or just a prophet. He didn’t leave that option open to us. He did not intend to.
Well put C.S. Lewis.
God revealed his name to Moses as “I AM” (YHWH) in the burning bush experience (Exodus 3). This is often rendered Jehovah or Yahweh and in most bibles will read “LORD” (all caps) throughout the Old Testament. God progressively reveals himself to his people by pairing his Name “I AM” with his attributes. In Genesis 22 He reveals himself to Abraham as “I AM your provider” (YHWH Jirah) Genesis 22:14 . The Bible goes on to describe him with these names:
- I AM your Righteousness (YHWH tsidkenu) Jeremiah 23:6
- I AM your Healer (YHWH rapha) Exodus 15:26
- I AM your Peace (YHWH-shalom) Judges 6:24
- I AM here for you (YHWH shammah) Ezekiel 48:35
- I AM your Creator (YHWH hoseenu) Psalm 95:6
- I AM your Banner of victory (YHWH nissi) Exodus 17:15
- I AM your Sanctifier (I make you holy) (YHWH-m’kaddesh) Exodus 31:13
- I AM your Shepherd (YHWH-raah) Psalm 23:1
- I AM Lord of hosts (armies) (YHWH-sabaoth) 1 Samuel 1:3
In his Gospel, the apostle John picks up on this theme and gives us at least 7 “I AM” statements of Jesus.
1. The Bread Of Life
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
2. The Light Of The World
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
3. The Gate
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)
4. The Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
5. The Resurrection And The Life
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
6. The Way, The Truth, And The Life
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
7. The Vine
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
On one occasion Jesus makes his identity abundantly clear to his Jewish audience who then picks up stones to stone him for blasphemy. He says them, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” (John 8:58 NLT)
They all knew what he was claiming and were going to kill him for it.
Here is another account where Jesus makes a claim that the people knew was a claim to be God from John 10:30-33 (NIV):
I and the Father are one.”
Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them,“I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Take a look at this account of when Jesus was being arrested in John 18:4-6 (NLT):
“Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.
“Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied.
“I AM he,”[b] Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said “I AM he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground!”
(Here is the footnote [b] John 18:5 Or “The ‘I AM’ is here”; or “I am the Lord”; Greek reads I am; also in 18:6, 8. See Exod 3:14.)
Amazing isn’t it? This Jesus whose very name means “I AM Salvation” is the very same God who spoke the world into existence, who created you and I for his glory, and then gave his life on a cross. His love for us made him do it.
I will leave you with this last verse I just stumbled upon:
“Unless you believe that I am you will die in your sins” ~ Jesus (John 8:24)
The following are some videos I put together on this subject and more. I particularly like Part 2 and I think you will too:
- I is for … I AM!! (livingmyportion.wordpress.com)
- I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (bummyla.wordpress.com)
- John 14:6 – Jesus is the Only Way (readingacts.wordpress.com)
- Lamb (guapotg.wordpress.com)
- The Gentle Shepherd (gladlylistening.wordpress.com)