Exploring the ‘I AM’ Sayings of Jesus”
Introduction to the Preaching Series and Lenten Study
This Sunday, our journey to the cross and resurrection begins in Exodus 3:1-15, as God appears to Moses in a burning bush that is not consumed! God invites Moses into a dynamic and robust relationship for God’s mission of salvation and liberation. God reveals the divine name to Moses, offering empowerment, reassurance, and presence. It is very good news that the great “I AM” wants to be known and invites people to share in these good and eternal purposes.
Fast forward to the Gospel of John; Jesus explicitly identifies himself with the God of Moses and the Old Testament, assuring us that he and the Father are One. Jesus is the continuation of God’s story with Israel: God’s mercy endures forever, God’s faithfulness is to all generations.
Jesus explicitly identifies himself with the person and work of the Father, and then Jesus uses “the ordinary” to help people understand the new thing God is doing in him-in his person and work. Jesus says, I AM the true Bread, the Light of the world, the Good Shepherd, the Door, the Gate for the sheep, the True Vine, the Way, Truth, and Life; Jesus says, I AM the Resurrection and Life. Jesus then uses these same images to help us understand the new thing God is doing in, among, and through all those who abide and believe in him.
It is interesting that these ancient and ordinary images often accompany the wilderness-type experiences of God’s covenant people, yet Jesus takes these images and redeems them, turning them into new possibilities! In Jesus there is new hope and life!
Just as God invites Moses into relationship, God invites us into a dynamic and robust relationship through Jesus. Moreover-this invitation is not just for us-it is for all who will receive! Even today, in the person and work of Jesus, and by the power of the Holy Spirit God offers us ongoing empowerment, reassurance, and presence. It is very good news that the great “I AM” wants to be known and invites all to share in God’s good and eternal purposes.
In the cross and resurrection-God in Christ appears to us and draws close to us-so let us draw close to God and to each other, all for God’s mission in this world. See you on Sunday.