When Moses asked God His Name, God’s answer was “I AM”.
The God who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) continues to answer in the same manner to all those who ask Him as to what His Name is.

If you are hungry – He will tell you that I AM the bread of life and I can satisfy your desires.
If you are seeking protection and provisions – He will tell you that I AM the Door and those who enter by Me will be safe and secure.
If you are like sheep gone astray – He will tell you that I AM the good shepherd searching, seeking and going after each one that is lost.
If you are in darkness – He will tell you that I AM the light of the world and those who are Mine cannot be in darkness.
If you have no hope – He will tell you that I AM the resurrection and the life and the hope for the hopeless, life for the lifeless and when you believe in Me, even if you are to die, yet you will live for my Spirit is a quickening (life-giving) Spirit.
If you feel betrayed and buried in a world of lies – He will tell you that I AM the Truth and for that matter, the Way and the Life.
If you feel unproductive and unsatisfied – He will tell you that I AM the true vine and in abiding in Me, you will bear MUCH fruit and your desires will be granted according to His riches and permissive will.

Ask Him today, what His Name is and be prepared to receive the ‘I AM’ answer!

Hebrews 13:8 (KJV)
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

The Name above all Names

We started “The Name” series, asking the question – what’s in a Name, and just as the name reflects the quality of it’s holder, we attempted to get a glimpse of the character of God as expressed in the names and titles He bears, recognizing that we still fall short of describing The God, whose Name is above ALL Names.

We come to the conclusion of this series and in summary, let’s take a moment to see what a great God He is, a God who truly lives up to His Name, the name we know as Jesus.

A – Alpha and Omega – Eternal in existence, the firstborn of all creation (beginning) and the final sacrifice (end)
B – Bread of Life – The source of spiritual nourishment, that not only sustains us but also saves us
C – Christ – He is the anointed one, the Messiah and there is no others (even though He never directly claimed to be “the Christ”)
D – Door – Protecting those in Him and providing for those who enter, He is the one and only way for us to be able to reach God.
E – Emmanuel – He is God with us; He has been with us from even before we were formed in our mother’s womb, but is also with us now and will be with us in times to come.
F – Faithful – He is Semper Fi (always faithful), even when we are faithless, he remains faithful, ever beckoning those who are unfaithful to repent and remember your first love for Him.
G – Good Shepherd – The providing, protecting and preserving good shepherd, that gives his life, cares, knows, lays down his life for his sheep and brings other sheep in his fold.
H – Holy One of God – There is no one other than God who is Holy and Jesus is the Holy One of God.
I – Image of the invisible God – Exact representation and express fullness of the essence (person) of God; The mirror image of God.
J – Jesus – He is The Savior whose name is IESVS NAZARENVS (Jesus of Nazareth) and REX IVDAEORVM (King of the Jews).
K – King of kings – The King to whom all knees will bow.
L – Light of the world – The life giving source of the world. Outside of him, all one will find is darkness, death and doom. In Him is life.
M – Morning Star – Signals the dawn of a new age for in Him, all things become a new creation.
N – Nazareth’s prophet – The separated, crowned and sanctified of God.
O – Only Begotten Son – in whom when we believe, we have eternal life.
P – Prince of Peace – He keeps us in perfect peace, whose thoughts are fixed on Him.
Q – Quickening Spirit – Life-giving God who makes the dead live.
R – Resurrection – The hope of all and the reason to not have to fear physical (first) death.
S – Savior – The answer to the question of life and death. Without Him is no other means to Salvation.
T – Truth – The Lord of freedom for in knowing Him (The Truth) one is made free.
U – Unknown God – The God of your circumstance.
V – Vine (The True Vine) – In conforming to Him is productive and satisfied life.
W – Word of God – The cleansing Fire that incinerates sin and the Hammer that breaks the strongholds and stubbornness of our hearts.
XYZ – The Name above ALL names.

If you don’t know Him yet, ask Him and He will tell you His name, a Name that is above ALL other names – The I AM.

So the real question that remains is whether you know this really great and wonderful God (Psalm 86:10), a God who cannot be contained by names. What do you know Him as?

Philippians 2:9-11 (KJV)
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I AM the true Vine

John 15 records another ‘I AM’ sayings of Jesus, in which He states that “I am the Vine”, in fact, the first time He affirms this, He distinctly qualifies Himself to be the “TRUE” vine (John 15: 1). Jesus also tells the hearers that the branch that abides in the vine, firstly is PRODUCTIVE (bears much fruit – John 15:5) and secondly is PROVIDED for (whatever is asked – John 15:7).

Note Jesus did not say that the branches that are ATTACHED to Him are the ones that productive or provided for. Instead He said, that the branches that ABIDE in Him are the ones that are. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines as one of the meaning of the word “abide” as “to conform to“. It is those who conform to Jesus (Romans 12:1), who are the ones who are effective in bearing much fruit. The fruit we are to bear are MUCH Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness and Temperance (Galatians 5:22).

There are many today who profess that they are attached to Christ (the true Vine), but live unproductive and malnourished lives, because they don’t abide in (conform to) Him. Mark Twain in biting wit writes in his notebook, “If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be–a Christian.” What a profound yet pitiable statement, this is. So the question that surfaces for each one of us is this – are we merely attached to Jesus or do we abide in Him? Not all productive lives are necessarily satisfactory and not all satisfied lives are necessarily productive. In conforming to Jesus, (and not to the world) we can live productive AND satisfied lives because He is the One and Only true nourishing vine and He claimed rightfully so.

I AM the Truth

The facade of the Main Building at the University of Texas (known colloquially as the UT Tower) has the inscription that stands out boldly – “Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free“. We may have heard umpteen number of sermons that expressed that the Truth shall make us free, but is that really true? I think we are missing half the point, it is not the the Truth that really makes us free, although the Truth can, but it is the knowing of the Truth.

John 14:6 records one of Jesus’ compound ‘I AM’ sayings, in which He affirmed, I AM the way, the truth, and the life. In defining ‘truth’, Jesus did not objectify it by saying, the truth is this or the truth is that, but He personified it but saying that ‘I AM’ the truth. In a world that is rife with falsity of hope, there stands one absolute, and that is Jesus, THE Truth.

In the events that unfolded leading to the crucifixion of Jesus, one of the most important questions that was asked of Jesus, but pitiable not answered was the question by Pilate, when he questioned Jesus, asking “What is the Truth?” (John 18:38). If only Pilate had waited to hear what Jesus had to said, He would have heard the response “I AM, I AM the Truth and in knowing me, the Truth, I shall set you free. Pilate, you may feel that you have control over me and my freedom, but I am the LORD of Freedom, because I am the Truth and the Truth makes those in captive free (John 8:32). I am only your captive, because God has allowed this to be. I AM the truth and there is none other. Know me and in knowing me you shall be free, free from the pressures of pleasing the Romans officials, or caving in to the peer pressures of the Jews, and free to heed to the dream/vision your wife had, which was to have nothing to do with me.”

But like many today, Pilate sadly did not wait to listen to the answer of that question – What is the Truth? In a world that is filled with addiction and bondage to sin and self, there is only one way to be free. If we need to be set free from our bondage of the flesh that is weak (though the Spirit is willing), all we need to do is know Jesus. Jesus said, you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free. He also said, I AM the truth. And so in essence, we can deduce that it is accurate to state – You shall know Jesus (THE Truth) and Jesus (THE Truth) shall make you free. He said, I AM the Truth and there is no other, none at all.

UT Tower Facade Inscription

I AM the Resurrection, and the life

Auguste Comte, the founder of French sociology and the philosophy of positivism, once told British essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle that he was going to start a new religion to replace Christianity. ‘Very good’, replied Carlyle, ‘all you have to do is to be crucified, rise again, and get the world to believe that you are still alive. Then your new religion will have a chance.’

Jesus Christ said, I AM the resurrection and the life and if anyone believes in me, even though he is dead, yet shall he live (John 11:25). The Resurrection is fundamental and the most distinctive hope of all who follow Christ. Without resurrection, all hope is vain (1 Corinthians 15:19). Just as Christ rose from the dead, we shall all be resurrected as well. It is important to note that some will be resurrected to life while others (who have done evil) will be resurrected to damnation (John 5:29). Furthermore, the scripture records that the early church apostles and disciples, and this generation’s people such as Graham Staines and his children, Richard Wurmbrand (founder of Voice of the Martyrs) etc who refused to accept deliverance but were martyred for their allegiance to Jesus Christ, in the line duty will obtain a better resurrection (Hebrews 11:25). They chose death over life so that they may be experience a better resurrection.

Many today choose to live dead lives refusing to believe in Jesus. When we believe in Jesus, we are spiritually resurrected from death and a day of reckoning is coming when we shall physically be resurrected as well (1 Corinthians 15). Those who believe in Jesus have no reason to fear physical death (state of sleep) or spiritual death (eternal separation from God), and can be assured that there will be a translation of their ephemeral physical bodies into celestial bodies that will be eternal. Those who do not believe in Jesus have everything to dread because without Jesus there is no resurrection and no life. Jesus said, I AM the resurrection and the life and only in Him is life, abundant life.

I AM the Light of the world

The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century which is expected to last nearly seven minutes is expected to occur tomorrow (July 22, 2009) as reported by the NASA Eclipse website.  The sun, a bright shinning star will be completely eclipsed because of the presence of another object (the moon) between the earth and the sun and the sun’s light (life giving source) will be temporarily cut short to all on earth. Now imagine for a moment, if this total eclipse is not just a temporary phenomenon. Plants wont be able to photosynthesize and animals that depend on plants will slowly start to die, until life itself as we know it, in totality may cease to be.

One of Jesus’ ‘I AM’ statements recorded in John 8:12 is ‘I AM the Light of the world‘  followed by ‘Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life‘.

If Jesus is the light of the world, then why is it that there are many who still dont see Him? Two reasons come to mind. First, sin and second blindness. Sin eclipses the resplendence and glory of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the bright and Morning Star (Rev 22:16). The god of this world (devil) has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:4). If we choose to have fellowship with Jesus Christ (who is not just in the light, but is THE LIGHT), His blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). If we follow Him, we will never have to walk in darkness anymore. He will open the eyes of those who have been blinded (Psalm 146:8). If we choose to stay perpetually separated from Jesus Christ, the light of the world, our lives will be lost in darkness until life itself as we know it, in totality will cease to be. Jesus said, I AM the light of the world and in other words He said, I AM the LIFE GIVING source of the world.

I AM the Good Shepherd

Jesus avers “I am the Good Shepherd” not once but twice in the Gospel according to the Apostle John (John 10:11, John 10:14). Superficially it may seem like anyone can make this claim but upon deeper analysis, the extent as to how profound and unique this claim is, make me realize that no one else really can claim this, except Jesus. This is one of the ‘I AM’ statements of Jesus, in which, not only does He state the obvious, but He tells us the responsibilities/characteristics of a good shepherd, all of which He fulfills impeccably.

Responsibilities of the good shepherd include the following (1) give life for the sheep (2) care for the sheep (3) know his sheep (4) lay his life for the sheep and (5) bring other sheep into his fold.

2 Samuel 7:8 talks about David, a shepherd, who was made ruler and king of Israel. David was faithful first as a shepherd and God made him to be the ruler of his people, the Israelites. David as a shepherd provided for his sheep, cared for them, knew them because when one of them was taken by a lion and a bear, he was willing to die for it by fighting the lion and the bear. There is however no account of David, bringing in sheeps from other flocks into his own. He may or may not have done so.

Jesus, THE good Shepherd gives eternal and abundant life to all who believe (John 3:16). He cares for each one of us (1 Peter 5:6-8) and He wants us to cast our anxieties on Him. He knows each one of us that belong to him (2 Tim 2:19). He knows our name – He called Saul by name, Simon by name, He called Zacchaeus by name,  He even engraves the names of those who believe in Him in the palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:16). Don’t be surprised if you hear him calling you by your Name! He laid down his life voluntarily for our salvation (1 John 3:16). and He brings together all who are not part of His family (flock) into His family (Romans 1:16, 1 Timothy 2:4).

Jesus is the PROVIDING, PRESERVING and PROTECTING good shepherd. Just as God raised David from being the shepherd of sheep to be the ruler of his people, God who gave Jesus as the good Shepherd, raised Him up so that He will return as the ruler of ALL men (1 Corithians 15:24). If you have met Jesus and know him to be your good Shepherd, then He commands us to go and do likewise, to feed his lambs/sheep (John 21:15-17). If we faithfully shepherd His people on earth, He will make us rulers to reign with Him when He returns (Luke 19:17,19). If you have NOT yet met Jesus, THE GOOD SHEPHERD, I reckon that you meet Him first as the good shepherd and believe in Him so that you may come into His family and be under His Lordship (shepherdship), instead of waiting to meet Him as a ruler and righteous judge, when He returns. The decision is yours to make! He said “I AM the Good Shepherd” and that is a fact.

For a related reading, see Character and Names of God in Psalm 23

John 10:11-16 (KJV)
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

2 Samuel 7:8 (KJV)
8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: