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The Wednesday Word: Jesus, The Great “I AM”

January 8, 2020 2 comments

John 8:58 “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.”

According to the Old Testament, the ultimate name of God is “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). This same “I AM” appeared in the New Testament calling Himself Jesus. It is no wonder then that many of the Jews, in those days, thought Christ to be demon possessed.

Others thought Him mad: No sane man could come up with the audacious utterances that flooded from the lips of this carpenter! The Jewish leaders knew fine well that when Jesus announced, “Before Abraham was I am” He was claiming to be God. Every Hebrew who knew his stuff was aware that the ‘I AM’ was none other than Yahweh —the One True and living God who had spoken to Moses at the Burning Bush. But now this brash upstart of a Nazarene tradesman dares to walk around claiming to be Him.

The lead up to Jesus’ claim of being the Covenant God of Israel, the ‘I Am,’ is fascinating. The troubled Pharisees were, as usual, debating Jesus when Abraham was mentioned. One of their number as he, no doubt, sat stroking his grizzled beard, asked with a voice of disdain, and I paraphrase,

“Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead: who are you making yourself out to be?” (John 8:53).

Jesus floored them with His answer, claiming that Abraham had not only seen his day but also (unlike the Pharisees) had been glad. This was too much for the religious stalwarts of Jewish society. Was there no end to the carpenter’s impertinence? Indignant, they responded with no small degree of sarcasm saying, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” In other words, you haven’t even reached retirement age buddy, and yet you claim to be old enough to have seen the Father of our Nation.

Then Christ proceeds to drop a bombshell by announcing, “Before Abraham was I am.” In the Greek, the words for ‘I am’ are in the present tense (Ego eimi): Literally, Jesus was saying, ‘Before Abraham was I am continually!’ The Jews knew exactly what He was saying. They knew Christ was claiming, once more, to be the eternal God. Jesus was saying, “I am eternal. I have no beginning and no end. ‘I AM.’ There never was a time when I came into existence for I have always been. I am the eternal God standing here in human flesh.”

Notice how the Jews knew exactly what Jesus was claiming. See how they took up stones and tried to kill him. Stoning was the standard way by which blasphemers were executed. This attempted stoning, therefore, is a vital piece of evidence for it demonstrates that the Jews understood full well that Jesus was claiming to be God.

So how say you? The ancient Jews knew what He was saying and were enraged. They knew that Christ Jesus, by the claim of being the I Am was declaring that He was neither a created being nor a good teacher sent by God, but rather He was announcing Himself to be the eternal Yahweh who exists from all eternity.

How long then will you halt between two opinions? If Christ Jesus is the Mighty God, worship Him, trust him and follow Him. If He is not, rank Him alongside the evil workers of history. If you say He is only the Son of God but not God, you make Him a blasphemer. Why in the world would you want to follow a blasphemer? You should, instead, count Him as one who has, in a sinister fashion, led countless numbers to their doom in a lost eternity. But whatever you do, do not patronise Him by saying He was a good moral teacher, but not God.

We must never forget when Jesus declared Himself to be ‘I Am’ He was declaring Himself as the Eternal self- existent One.

He was saying, “I am the One who has existence in Myself.”

He was saying, “I am the one who made all things, and without Me was not anything made that is made.”

He was saying, “I am the one who sustains all things and upon whom all things depend.”

He was saying, “I am the one who decrees how long all things on earth continue for they continue only as long as I support them.”

He was saying, “No one exists without my permission and power, and when I take away their breath, they die.”

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: Eight Wonderful Facts about Jesus

´´ God… has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: Hebrews 1:2-3.

In these verses we are told eight wonderful facts about the Lord Jesus

1. God´s final word to us is in Jesus.

Jesus is the full and final revelation from Heaven. There are no new Gurus or Messiahs to come. There are no new divine revelators. God has already spoken in the full and final manner in Christ.

2. Christ Jesus has been appointed heir of all things.

Everything belongs to him; everything in the world, every part of our lives is subject to him. Jesus “knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands” (John 13:3) and knowing that all things that the Father had were His (John 16:15) declared that “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).

3. By Christ Jesus, God made the world.

In the beginning God created the world by the word of his power. Jesus Christ is the WORD. ‘All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made’ (John 1:3). Spurgeon said, ´¨I love to think that He who created all things is also our Saviour, for then He can create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. If I need a completely new creation—as I certainly do—He is equal to the task. ¨

4. Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory.

No Prophet could claim this. The Glory that is in God is the Glory that is in Christ. No wonder that His name is above every name (Philippians 2:9). One day every knee shall bow at the name of Jesus and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10–11).

5. Jesus is the express image of His (God’s) person.

There is but one God. When Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father, Jesus told him that whoever had seen him had seen the Father (John 14:9). He also said, ‘Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me’ (John 14:11). As Spurgeon remarked, ’ ’Whatever God is, Christ is. The very likeness of God, the very Godhead of Godhead, the very Deity of Deity, is in Christ Jesus. ¨

6. Jesus is upholding all things by the word of his power.

Not only was the world created by him, but the forces of nature are upheld by him. The wind, the ocean, the rain are all are under his control. The small details of our lives are under His control too. He is carrying us along, bearing us toward that great and final day.

7. Jesus has purged our sins.

Notice how the writer moves effortlessly from Christ´s power to His purging. “The Creator and the Sustainer became the Sin-bearer. In order to create the universe, He only had to speak. In order to maintain and guide the universe, He only has to speak… but in order to put away our sin once for all, He had to die on the cross. It is staggering to think that the sovereign Lord would stoop to become the sacrificial Lamb. (Believer’s Bible Commentary)

8. Jesus is now sitting in cosmic authority.

Christ Jesus is now exalted—He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and is now seated in highest honour. The seated posture is one of rest. Redemption has been accomplished. We are saved by His precious blood.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus Enough for our Reward? Part 2

October 31, 2018 2 comments

All believers are headed for glory and our reward. But what exactly will that be?

Let’s ask ourselves, what do we want it to be? Do we want the reward of a big mansion or a castle in glory? Or, would Jesus be enough?

Do we want Him?
Do we love Him?

Can we say with the Psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psalm 73:25).

Is Jesus enough?

Every believer, when our work has been examined at the Judgment throne, will receive a reward. So, let’s say for example, that our work passes through the Judgment with flying colours and we go on to our reward, what do we want it to be? Do we want literal crowns and mansions? They may be there. But so what?

I am persuaded that our greatest reward is Him, the Lord Jesus.

Consider the Levites of the Old Testament, they got no inheritance in the land, but they were given Him (Deuteronomy 10:9;18:1-2). The Lord was their inheritance and they had the privilege of ministering to Him.

They got the best deal in Israel!

The Lord is our reward. He told Abraham, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). Isaiah 40:10 tells us; “Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him.”

Is He enough for our reward or do we want more?

I love what the hymn writer wrote about this; he said;

Finish then thy new creation:
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see thy great salvation,
Perfectly restored in thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

We will cast our crowns before Him for He is enough. What a sublime thought!

So what exactly will Heaven and life there be like? We don’t know for eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him (1 Corinthians 2:9). But this much we do know; in Heaven, we not only encounter Jesus but we also encounter Heaven in Jesus

He is the Light of Heaven.
He is the Bread of Heaven.
He is the Delight of Heaven.
He is the Glory of Heaven.
He is the Joy of Heaven.
He is the Reward of Heaven.
His presence there makes Heaven into Heaven. If He left, it would no longer be Heaven! Jesus is the centre of Heaven, Jesus Himself is heaven and heaven is Jesus.

Jesus is enough.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus enough for your Reward? Part 1

We often think that Jesus must have had it reasonably easy. Apart from having to go through the few hours of the cross, He had a pretty agreeable time of it —-didn’t He? After all, there He was walking about the place as ‘God incognito’; the all-powerful one cleverly disguised as a man. How hard could that be?

So just how difficult could His life have been? Was His 33 years here a relatively good and pleasant experience?

Actually, humanly speaking, it was not. In some ways, it was pretty awful!

Let’s look for example at His early life. I’m sure you have often heard it said that we know almost nothing of those years, but this is not strictly the case. We know, for example, that by age 12 He knew His will was set apart to do that of His Father (Luke 2:49). But is there any more information available about those early days?

Yes, there is. Take for example the Psalms. Many of them contain the prayers of Jesus. They may have been spoken and cried prophetically by others, nevertheless, many of them were the expressions of Christ’s heart. Part of Psalm 69, for instance, prophetically gives us insight into what it was going to be like for Jesus growing up in Nazareth and it was ghastly! Verse 7 reads,

“Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.”

Many think this is a direct reference to the rejection He would get from some people because of the Virgin Birth. Consider this, when He was born, He was born to a virgin. Joseph was not His Father, God was! He was the Son of God, not the Son of Joseph! Can you imagine bearing that stigma? “God is your Father? —a likely story!” From His earliest days, He always carried the stigma of being bastard-born. This may be no big deal today, but in those days, it was pretty dreadful. Not all of His day despised bastards, but many did.

Someone has said, “God made the countryside, man made the cities, but the Devil made the small towns.” That’s more truth than poetry. I grew up in a small village in Northern Ireland and can testify that it seemed as though everyone knew everyone else’s business. I knew who many the children were who were born out of wedlock. We all knew! So, I can well believe that the ‘upstanding’ parents of Nazareth warned their children, “Don’t have anything to do with that Jesus one, he’s from bad stock. Joseph didn’t marry his mother till after he was born.”

Then we read,

“I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children” (Psalm 69:8).

The truth is this, His brothers and sisters didn’t like Him. He was always going on about that ‘God stuff.’ And besides that, they knew He was different and yes, they’d heard the stories and yes they’d heard that there was a claim that God was His real Father. They didn’t much care for Him. Rejection started within His own house. He was a stranger and an alien in His own home. It was, in fact, not till after the resurrection that any of them became His followers.

So, what was He like to be around? We get the answer in the next verse, verse 9; “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up, and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.”

The reason I bring all that up is to emphasize that that kind of suffering is all in the past. For Him, earthly life with all its rejections and shunning has gone forever, He has entered His well-earned rest. He has gone

From humiliation to glorification;

From degradation to exaltation;

From the curse to the crown;

From the place of horror to the place of honour;

From the gruesome tree to the glorious throne;

From receiving wrath to receiving worship.

As His follower, life may be tough right now. You love Him and have taken a stand for Him and it has brought you nothing but trouble. But don’t lose heart, your reward is yet to come. Do not become weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9). As Paul says, our light affliction is but for a moment. Fix your eyes upon Jesus for there’s an eternal weight of glory just up ahead (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

We will continue this thought next time (DV)

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Jesus, the Real Bread for the Hungry Soul

In John’s Gospel, we find the seven ‘I Am’ scriptures, spoken by Jesus to declare His Deity. Among them, we find John 6:35,

“I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

Listening to this, we must conclude that, if Jesus is not God, He can hardly be viewed as a repository of deep humility. Here, He declares Himself as the Bread of Life; the one who gives life to the world. What a cheek …that is if He is not God!

Indeed, when we read this discourse, in John 6, we discover that Jesus makes a sevenfold reference to Himself as the Bread of Life (see verses 32-33, 35, 48, 50 -51, 58). According to Jesus, this is the very bread that must be eaten, by faith, to receive everlasting life (see verses 50, 51- 53, 54, 56, 57, 58).

We should note that the Roman Communion makes much of these statements to establish her wretched doctrine of the Mass. They painstakingly fail, however, to point out that this discourse has nothing whatsoever do with the Last Supper… They also fail to note that Christ’s language in this passage is figurative, not literal, the Lord’s Supper not being in existence until about a year later.

The bread to which Christ refers is Christ Himself. He, as our High Priest, offered Himself on the altar of Calvary, redeemed His people and answered the sin question as He satisfied the justice of God. When we receive Him by faith alone, we are figuratively eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

In verse 33 He says, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and gives life unto the world.”

Notice how Jesus referred to Himself as, “He which cometh down from heaven.” By this term, Jesus is again asserting His deity! In the Old Testament, to “come down from heaven” meant a divine descent from the throne of God to accomplish a task of either grace or judgment.

“In Genesis 11: 4 and 7, for example, God “came down” in Judgment against the Tower of Babel.

In Genesis 18:21, God, regarding Sodom, says “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me.”

Regarding the people of Israel in Exodus 3:8, the Lord says, “I am come down to deliver them.”

In Exodus 19:20, God “comes down” upon the mount of Sinai to give His law.

In Psalm 18:9 He “… bowed the heavens and came down” in answer to cries of distress.

Since to come down from heaven is God’s work and prerogative, we once more see the Master making the grand declaration that He is God manifest in the flesh.

In summary,

Jesus as the Bread of life is the sustainer of life that means He is God.

Jesus declares He has come down from heaven … again that means He is God.

Jesus claims that union with Him is essential to eternal life … again that means He is God.

Now here’s the question. Have we eaten of the Bread of Life? Have we tasted and seen that the Lord is Good (Psalm 34:8)? Are we still looking anywhere but the Gospel for satisfaction?

In Greek mythology, Tantalus was made to stand in a pool of water, right under the branches of a fruit tree. However, when he tried to reach for fruit, the branches would go higher and out of reach. When he tried to drink a sip of water, the waters of the pool would recede. A symbol of utter frustration, his name is immortalized in the English word “tantalize.” So, too, the world may at times tantalize the Child of God. It promises much but delivers nothing. Only Christ can give us a cleansed conscience. Only Christ can remove our guilt and give genuine peace. He is the Bread of Life.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: I Am he!

“I said therefore unto you that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I AM (he), you shall die in your sins.” John 8:24

Jesus is the great ‘I Am,’ the mighty God of Scripture….. (Exodus 3:14; John 1:1-7; John 6:33-35; John 8:12; John 8:58; John 10:7-9; John 10:14-15; John 10:30).

Nevertheless, many misguided people say He was merely a good teacher. Consider, however, what the Master taught in John 8:24. There, He makes a most outrageous claim…one that is hardly the mild assertion of a modest and temperate instructor of righteousness. He declares,

“I said therefore unto you that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I AM (he), you shall die in your sins.”

This is scarcely the contention of a good teacher who although a good man, was not God. Christ was claiming, in this verse, that unless we believe that He is the eternal, self-existent one, we will perish.

It should be noted that the word ‘he’ in verse 24 is in italics thereby showing that it does not appear in the original. Rather, the translators supply it. In this verse, therefore, Jesus makes a direct claim to deity! So, was this man Jesus mad or was He actually telling the truth?

By saying ‘Unless you believe that ‘I am’ Jesus asserts that we must believe that He is the mighty God; We must believe that He is the eternal deity. We must believe that He is the promised Messiah. We must believe that He is the faithful covenant God.

“I am”—what a claim! It is a shocking declaration if it is honest and equally outrageous if it is not!  If it is not true, it is a scurrilous affair for any mere man to make such an alarming and blasphemous assertion. Off with His Head!

If it is true, however, Jesus is claiming that there is no salvation outside of believing that He is Yahweh, the eternally self-existent One (Isaiah 43:10).  Christ is teaching that belief in His true identity is not an option.  “If you reject my identity, you shall die in your sins” is His solemn, twice-repeated warning.

So you say you are a Christian, yet you reject Christ as God?  You then must assume Christ to be confused for, He whom you call your Saviour says He does not save those who reject Him as God. 

He says you will die in your sins if you reject His deity. 

You will die as a wretch without a mediator.

You will bear responsibility for your sins before the judgment seat.

Neither a super-angel nor a God-inspired man can deliver you.  Indeed, no one can deliver you from the coming wrath except He who is fully God and man! Reject Christ’s deity, and you will perish.

William Romaine is judicious on this point of Christ’s Deity.  He writes;

“Let no person think that this is a speculative point. It is not an indifferent thing whether you receive it or not, but your eternal state depends upon it, you must receive it, or perish forever; for whosoever disbelieves it shall be damned. This may sound very harsh to the ears of free and candid inquirers, but I really cannot soften it.  … The Almighty has threatened to inflict it (damnation) upon the deniers of Christ’s divinity and let men make ever so light of it, He will infallibly inflict it; and, therefore, I must again admonish you, that whoever does not believe Jesus Christ to be self-existent, … shall be damned.”
William Romaine: The Self-Existence of Jesus Christ:

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Seeing the Father!

“In Christ the invisible God has become visible. Whoever sees Him sees the Father (John 14:9). Whoever wants to know who God is and what He is must behold the Christ. As Christ is, such is the Father.”

Herman Bavinck: The Divine and Human Natures of Christ

Have you ever tried witnessing to a person who hates the doctrine of Christ’s deity? They smugly say, “Well, of course, Jesus never claimed to be God, he merely claimed to be the Son of God! Oh really? The next time this happens, take them to the Scripture and show them this, “Philip said unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us. Jesus said unto him, “Have I been so long a time with you, and yet you have not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; and why do you say then, Show us the Father? John 14:8-9.

It doesn’t get any simpler than this! Philip had had enough of these references to the Father and asked Jesus plainly to, “Show us the Father.” Christ’s response is astonishing. He says, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me has seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

Was Jesus mistaken about His own identity? Was He simply a good man with a God -consciousness? Or was He merely a man possessed by God? Call it whatever way you will, if Jesus is wrong about being the God/Man, He’s a fruitcake! Listen to what He boldly declares, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” In other words, He’s saying, “Philip I’m the visible image of the invisible God. Philip, you don’t have to guess anymore about what God is like, I am God in human form.”

This is stout stuff! Jesus most clearly and without ambivalence claimed to be God. John writes at the beginning of his gospel; “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John: 1:18).

The word translated ‘declared’ is of utmost interest. It is the Greek word ‘exegeomai’ from which we get the English words exegete and exegesis. When a preacher exegetes a passage of scripture, he brings out all that is contained in the verses. He declares what is there. He dares not read into the passage things that are not there otherwise he would be practicing eisegesis and not exegesis. Christ, according to John 1:18, is the exegesis of God. He has fully declared him. Is it any wonder then that He can say to Philip “If you have seen me you have seen the Father?” Horatius Bonar astutely remarks;

“Christ’s person is a revelation of God. Christ’s work is a revelation of God. He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. His words and works are the words and works of the Father. In the manger, He showed us God. In the synagogue of Nazareth, He showed us God. At Jacob’s well, He showed us God. At the tomb of Lazarus, He showed us God. On Olivet, as He wept over Jerusalem, He showed us God. On the cross, He showed us God. In His resurrection He showed us God. If we say with Philip “Show us the Father and it is sufficient for us,” He answers, “Have I been so long a time with you and yet hast thou not known me? He that has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:8-9). This God, whom Christ reveals as the God of righteous grace and gracious righteousness, is the God with whom we have to do.”

Horatius Bonar: God’s Way of Peace: Chapter 3

Do we understand the incarnation (God becoming man)? I for one do not. It is a mystery (1 Timothy 3:16). I can’t explain it, but I can declare it. God came here Himself, became one of us and yet remained fully God. Then as one of us, as a real and genuine human, He surrendered Himself to the ignominious death of the cross. No wonder the hymn writer declares, “Hallelujah, what a Saviour!”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com