I AM

God called Moses to deliver His people out of bondage in Egypt and lead them to the promised land. Moses believed God, but would the people believe him. How was he going to convince the people that God had sent him? God responded by saying to Moses, “‘I AM WHO I AM. That is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.’ God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, The Lord God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob- has sent me to you. This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation’” (Ex. 3: 14,15).

The name “I AM” means that what God was in the past, He is in the present, and will also be in the future. Yahweh (Jehovah) is the most distinctive name that God was known by in the Old Testament, which comes from the same root as “I AM.” This name was given to Moses as a credential that would – and did – convince the children of Israel that God was faithful to His covenant and would lead them out of bondage. The name does not primarily disclose who He is in Himself. It discloses who He is, was and will be to the people of God in redemptive history for the purpose of alleviating their fears and doubts.

The name is mentioned in the New Testament when Jesus responded to the Jews; “‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born. I AM!’” (Jn. 8:58). Moses was the law giver who led God’s people from slavery in Egypt to the promised land. Jesus fulfilled the law and led God’s people from slavery to sin to freedom in Christ and eternal life. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the same God who now delivers us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved son (Col. 1:13).

Jesus said, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be” (Jn. 8:24). John records a number of “I am” statements made by Jesus. He said, “I am the bread of life” (6:48). Like the manna from heaven that sustained the physical life of the Israelites, Jesus also came from heaven to give us spiritual life. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (11:25,26). In other words, if you believe in Jesus, you will continue to live spiritually even when you die physically.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep” (10:7), and later He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (14:6). Jesus is the only means by which we can receive eternal life and enter into God’s presence. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus is not only our Savior, He is our shepherd and we are the sheep of His pasture. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (10:11). “We are his people, the sheep of his pasture” (Ps. 100:3).

Dr. Neil

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