The Most Precious Claim

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

Jesus released cultural whiplash with those two words.

The Jewish leaders started looking for stones to throw at Him. To them, what Jesus said was blasphemy against God. To those who trust in Him, it is His most precious claim.
 
The Pharisees knew exactly to what He was referring. In Exodus 3, God called Moses to go and bring the people of Israel out of Egypt. Moses asked God, “who should I say has sent me?” God replied,

“I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.” - Exodus 3:14
 
I AM - by giving Himself this name, God was declaring Himself eternal, completely self-sufficient, and uncaused. There was none before Him and He is forever. When Jesus took the name upon Himself, He revealed Himself to be God and claimed His very nature.

This claim supports the start of the gospel of John, in which John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” - John 1:1-2
 
The Greek word here for “Word” is logos. Greek philosophers referred to logos as the “the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning.” It was seen as the force behind all perfection and harmony in nature. They spent their lives trying to find/define/pin-down logos. Some believed it to be a set of rules, while others thought it may be the feeling of happiness itself. For the Jews, it was the law of the Old Testament. Regardless, they agreed that the ultimate goal in life was to align with this logos.

Enter Jesus - who broke the rules, shirked His own feelings, and gave His very life to be with you.
 
The logos - what we are to align ourselves to - is not a set of rules or a fleeting feeling, it is the person of Jesus. For, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:4). He is God - the perfection and harmony behind nature, the source of life, the unchanging, eternal force of existence itself - the “I AM.”

He entered into His own creation that we may align with Him. He came to take our scramblings for self-righteousness and give us Himself - the source of perfection.
 
And as we see with the Pharisees in this passage, He does not please the world or what is left of the world in us. He denies what we know to be true and flips our little worlds upside down.

Dallas Willard said it best in The Divine Conspiracy:

“He comes where we are, and he brings us the life we hunger for. An early report reads, "Life was in him, life that made sense of human existence" (John 1:4). To be the light of life, and to deliver God's life to women and men where they are and as they are, is the secret of the enduring relevance of Jesus. Suddenly they are flying right-side up, in a world that makes sense.

Call off the search. Stop chasing after rules, regulations, formulas, and feelings that come and go like vapors. Embrace Jesus as I AM. Enter into a living, breathing relationship with the true, eternal Word.
 
Jesus,

You are I AM. Thank you for entering into my mess and embracing me. Help me let go of trying and striving and scrambling. I want to cling to You. Amen.

 
Author | Claire Jordan

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