Thursday, February 26, 2015

"I am not"

Last Sunday we began a sermon series that will walk through Jesus’s seven “I Am” statements in the gospel of John. These seven statements give us a robust picture of who Jesus is in our world and who he desires to be in our lives.
I am the Bread of Life.
I am the Light of the World.
I am the Door.
I am the Good Shepherd.
I am the Resurrection and the Life.
I am the True Vine.
I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.
Each phrase echoes God’s self-disclosure to Moses at the burning bush: I AM who I AM. Each phrase adds a beautiful layer of color to our understanding of Jesus Christ as LORD.

There is an eighth “I am” statement in John’s gospel that gets less attention. In part, because this eighth phrase is uttered by someone other than Jesus. This eighth “I am” is no less important, because it paves the way for understanding Jesus as the great “I AM.” It’s found in the very first chapter of John’s gospel when some folks asked John the Baptist if he was the Messiah. He responded plainly:
I am not.
The eighth “I am” statement reminds us that we can only acknowledge Jesus as Lord when we lay down our own claims to the throne. To know Jesus as the Bread of Life requires acknowledging that I cannot sustain myself. Without his grace we will starve both physically and spiritually. To know Jesus as the light of the world requires acknowledging that we walk in darkness without his presence. To know the Way the Truth and the Life requires admitting that we are flat lost without his guiding care.

Jesus is the great I Am. Thankfully, blessedly, we are not. The sooner we admit that, the better off we will be.

For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Luke 14:11

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Good reads from the internet this week

  1. Why People Don’t Leave Your Church – Plenty of articles explore why people leave churches, but have you ever wondered why people stay? George Bullard explores ten reasons why people stick with their church.
  2. Chicken and Fries – Jen Hatmaker explores the damage that can happen when we refuse to entertain other options in our life and our thoughts and how humility can keep us from hurting others and making fools of ourselves.

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