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I AM WHO AM (Part 1)

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  • Bayo Afolaranmi
    Dear Beloved, For the next seven to eight weeks, I would be sharing a serial expository study of the seven great I AM sayings of Jesus Christ in the book of
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2004
      Dear Beloved,
      For the next seven to eight weeks, I would be sharing a serial expository study of the seven great "I AM" sayings of Jesus Christ in the book of St. John with you. I have done the study about five years ago.
      I AM WHO AM (Part 1)
      (Exodus 3:13-15; John 8:58)
      Today's study introduces the seven great "I AM" sayings of Jesus Christ in the book of St. John. These sayings and discourses center on the person and deity of Jesus Christ and affirm beyond doubt, the undeniable truth: the deity of Jesus Christ.
      How do these sayings originate? It is contained in the answer God gave Moses when he seemed to be dodging God's call on Mt. Horeb (Exodus 3). First, he said that he was not worthy of the call (verse 11). When God assured him of His support (verse 12), he gave the second excuse. He asked: "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" (verse 13).
      What is in a name? Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet" by Shakespeare asked this classic question. In Africa, names often describe the character and the circumstance (s) of one's birth and lineage. The western world also has preference and values to names. The name of a person/thing in the Bible always reveals the circumstance (s) of the person/thing bearing that name, or the beliefs of his/her parents. For examples, Joshua means Jehovah is salvation; Isaiah and Jesus mean Jehovah saves; Nabal means a fool (1 Samuel 25:25) and Barnabas means son of encouragement (Acts 4:36). So Moses did not go too far in asking for the name of the God that spoke to him. After all, God had not revealed His name to anybody before.
      God answered Moses' question by telling him, "I AM WHO I AM," or simply, "I AM" (verse 14). This is a word play on the Hebrew word for Yahweh. It has connection with the verbs "to be" and "to exist". Thus God was speaking of Himself as the Self-existent Being. This name expresses two of God's characters - the dependable and faithful God. He desires the full trust of His people (cf. verses. 12, 15).
      Jesus Christ applied this name to Himself eight times in the Gospel of St. John. One of such instances is explained here. This instance (8: 58) was started with another instance (in verse 12), which brought about a heated dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees. The dialogue deals with the testimony of Jesus Christ (verses 12-30), the father of the Jews (Abraham or the devil) (verses 31-47), and Jesus' claim about Himself (verses 48-59). The Jews questioned Him about His claim that, "Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my [Jesus] day�" (verse 56). In response, Jesus declared, "�before Abraham was born, I AM!" (verse 58). Grammatically, this sentence is wrong, but theologically, it is right. By this, Jesus claimed His pre-existence and His equality with God that spoke with Moses (cf. Philippians 2: 6). The Jews understood Him and wanted to stone Him for such claim.
      Today, the fact still confronts us. Who is Jesus Christ? He is the "I AM WHO I AM," the Self-existent and pre-existent God who deserves our worship not our "stoning." Do you believe this? Are you worshiping Him as God?
      From next week, we will discuss these sayings one after the other. Till then.
      In His service,
      Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
      Send your comments and remarks on this expository study to me at spiritualdigest@... or spiritualdigest@.... God bless you!!!

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