Day 15– Jesus I AM – I John 5:1-13

15 I AMWhoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

Three points come to mind.

  1. Without the Son there is no life. There is no middle ground. John wanted to assure his listeners of this distinction.
  2. The Spirit testifies to the truth. This confirms the first point. How does one know they have the Son? Because in having the Son they have been given the Holy Spirit. This is the supernatural presence of the living God within. You know that you know.
  3. Obeying God’s commandments is the outcome of the work of the Spirit.       There is an assurance that comes when one realizes that these commands are not a burden but a consequence of a Spirit led life.

I would have to say that being able to face life’s challenges by the guidance of the Holy Spirit right now is a great comfort and a reality I wish I could grasp fully. Eternity is the end game but at that point the challenges are over.

Day 14 – Jesus I AM – John 19:10-30

14 I AMSo Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?”

Ellicott’s Commentary rephrases: “Thy life is in my power; yea, and Thy death also.”

While Pilate’s authority and even ability to hold Jesus was allowed him by God, his mistaken words echoed the Father of Lies. It is the Enemy who wants us to believe he is the powerful one.

He is relentless in his proclamations. And especially, when pain and suffering can be avoided, there is the temptation to buy his claims and follow the blinking signs to our own ruin. Do not be fooled. He just cannot deliver what he does not have.

Interestingly, the One to whom Pilate speaks, does hold that power. “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Rev. 1:18

Knowing those He loved were helpless and only He alone could offer them Life, He embraced suffering until He could speak these words: “It is finished!”

 

Day 13 – Jesus I AM – Ezekiel 37:1-14

13 I AM“I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”

Someone prophesied over me once. Their words came from Jeremiah. While I remember the significance of that moment in my life, I haven’t actually looked at those words for a long time.

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

As I reread them this morning I feel the Holy Spirit’s quickening and again I have no doubt this is the Lord speaking straight to me.

The first time these words addressed particular fears in me. I was afraid I would not know how to speak what He was asking of me. I was afraid to believe He knew me so well and yet still was calling me to be His own. I was afraid I would get it wrong. I was afraid people would mock. And though my Giving Key says, “FEARLESS”, I’m not so sure that these fears don’t still pop up even now – 30+ years later.

By accepting the prophecy I did not think God had anointed me for some special ministry or that I would somehow become famous. I simply – though it did not seem so simple at the time – prayed out loud the words the Holy Spirit gave me.

I guess, in retrospect I believed Ezekiel’s words to Israel:

I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”

It is clear to me that the words from the LORD to Jeremiah are not just his – nor are they just mine. They are the promise to anyone in whom the Spirit dwells.

“I know all about you but I chose you to be my own. I set you apart to be a prophet in your own land – to your own little nation. Do not believe you are too young or too old or unqualified. You should go and speak the words I give you. I will be with you. I have put my Spirit within you and you will know what it is to really live.”

Day 12 – Jesus I AM – Genesis 3:8-19

12 I AMThe Lord God said to the serpent, I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.

Calling original sin “the fall” is a euphemism for “by these actions you have just doomed the entire human race to be separated from God.”

Falling off a cliff to your bone smashing death is all I can think of. But in that very moment of free-fall, when arms are flailing and there is nothing to grab, Jesus intervenes.

It is not a rescue without pain – He will be bruised. He will suffer the impact of landing on a wooden beam and His wounds will bleed. He will lapse into the coma of death but He will overcome it. And when He stands He will step squarely and crushingly on the head of our adversary.

Our rescue is made complete. Resurrection for all time.

Unfortunately, like Martha, I’m inclined to see my rescue as theology instead of a daily reality. I regularly find myself in the tug of war between the flesh and the Spirit.

So, I remind myself of these things:

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8: 11 

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, John 16:13

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:16

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Day 11 – Jesus I AM – John 11:1-27

11 I AMJesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha knows there will be a day of resurrection. It’s out in the future and all who believe will be a part of that day. But a couple of days ago, death swept away her brother and Jesus, the miracle worker, was not there to stem the tide. So she must be content to wait for the Resurrection Day of the future.

But Jesus is not the one who performs resurrections one day – He IS the Resurrection. He does not simply have the power to resurrect and give life – these are His very nature. In Him death gives way to life like darkness must yield to light.

Here is Jesus’ question: “Do you believe this?”

It is the question I am asked as well. Do I live in such short supply of Jesus that hope must be deferred to some future time? Or, will I live believing – not in what things look like, but in what Jesus says is reality?

Day 10 – Jesus I AM – John 6:50-51

10 I AMI am the living bread

Living bread.

You know how we say the Scripture is alive? It’s more than just a book and a bunch of words. It has some other property – by way of the Holy Spirit it morphs and moves and speaks – to any heart, just what is needed.

That’s the kind of bread Jesus is. He is essential to life – like bread is essential to our bodies. Yes, He is that. But He is more. He is His own life living inside my life. What is it that Paul said? “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”

He sustains my life and I give place to His life. It’s like when Jesus said, “I only do what I see my Father doing. My Father and I are one.”

In John 17 Jesus prayed for those who would become His own:

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

When Jesus’ life is being lived out in me, the world will know what to believe.

Day 9 – Jesus I AM – Matthew 26:17-28

09 I AM“Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

Why did Jesus tell his disciples, all gathered for the Passover meal, that one of them would betray him? It was a comment that made them sorrowful. It must have been terrifying to hear the fate of a betrayer. “Is it I, Lord?” went around the table as each one asked Him, like they might become an unwitting culprit. While Jesus’ statement was to them all, only one reply is recorded. Only to Judas did he affirm what they both already knew.

With the confusing cloud of betrayal lingering in their minds, Jesus serves the first Communion.

“Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

First the disease and then the remedy –

This is the very harsh truth. Somewhere along the line – some many “wheres” along the line – I will betray Him. The incidents of my sins may be unplanned or accidental or with an act of my own deliberate choosing. But Jesus and I, we both know.

And truly, I pray for the gift of sorrow – because it will guide me back. It will remind with no uncertainty that Jesus loves me anyway – just as he loved the disciples…just as he loved, in advance, “the many.”

“Here Lord is my betrayal.” 

“Here Child is my forgiveness.”

 

Day 8 – Jesus I AM – John 6:1-14

08 I AMLifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.

As I read these passages I am trying to focus my attention on Jesus. What did he do? What did he say? How did he act? What might He have been thinking? More and more I believe how Jesus lived in his three years on earth was an intentional representation – a living model – of a perfect relationship with God. Not that I am likely to ever actually have such a relationship this side of heaven, but still, there is so much to learn if the Holy Spirit will give me eyes to see.

Jesus has attracted a crowd of followers because he has been healing people. Miraculous healings understandably would draw attention in any culture or time. How I might imitate Jesus in this healing way might be a thinking point for another time.

But now a large crowd is coming and Jesus asks a leading question to Philip. “Where are we to buy bread” for these people? Philip calculates a price that is surely beyond their means. Andrew looks to what they can scrounge up and finds it lacking.

Jesus had a plan all along. He will buy their provision from the Father. He does this by taking what they had and “giving thanks” and passing out the results. BOLD.BELIEVING if you ask me.

How do you get that kind of confidence?

Do I write this off because, hey, I’m not Jesus and he could do stuff like this?

Or do I consider why my believing My Father would do something like this might not be as BOLD as it could be?

And then there were the leftovers.

Of course the people who were fed saw them.  The disciples would have had some tangible evidence of what Jesus had done. I mean, WOW – God can do all this? But Jesus had them gathered up so nothing would be lost. It makes me think that there was something important about the residual returns of BOLD.BELIEVING. There was food leftover to feed somebody else. There was bread enough and still there was bread.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger,

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. Isaiah 55:1-3

Day 7 – Jesus I AM – Exodus 16:1-18

07 IAM…the people of Israel said …”for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I feel like what God has brought into my life is too hard. It is supposed to be a blessing to live in the Way but it feels like I’ve found myself in a wilderness all by myself. I am hungry and if it continues I may die.

I am grumbling in my heart if not yet from my lips. Frankly I have not even asked what to do with this craving. But like the Israelites, God has not abandoned me. He hears even when I don’t speak.

“I will give you bread from heaven. Eat it and be fed – it will be all that you need. Your challenge is to not think it should look differently or come from somewhere else. Learn this way and it will serve you forever.”

Day 6 – Jesus: I AM – John 6:35-51

Day 6 – Jesus: I AM – John 6:35-51

06 IAMIt’s probably no coincidence that I am feeling hungry trying to write about this passage. So hungry in fact, that I just pulled out the leftovers and ate a little something.

In Bible times bread was the mainstay of every meal. If there was nothing else, at least there was bread. Even when Jesus taught the disciples to pray – “Give us today our daily bread”, everyone understood it meant the essential source of life.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Once you have found Him, you can stop looking.