Who do You Say That I AM?

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Who do You Say That I AM?

I’m thinking it’s time for some good FOOD for the soul after all these FOOD for the body posts.  So, here we go…

I was once told something in my younger years that I have waited a long time to see pan out.  It had to do with menopause.  Not what it was like exactly, but one of the little quirks about it.  (Hang in there, I’m getting to the Word, I promise.) This gal friend of mine said one of her major exasperations during that time was that she constantly felt dangling hairs on her skin, and found herself incessantly brushing these little niggling hairs off.

For many years I have wondered if maybe this meant my skin would be more sensitive, or if I would be losing more hair than normal, or if it just meant menopause makes women mentally unstable.  Maybe, could be all three – ha?

Well, here I am, and as it turns out she was right, about the hair (and perhaps about all the other stuff too).

Oh my gosh!  So yesterday I spent most the afternoon trying to shake off, brush off, and swipe away a devilish strand of hair that would not stop tickling my leg.  Every time I moved I could feel it touch my skin – AGAIN.  And no matter how much I brushed my hand across my inner thigh or down my hamstring, thinking I’d got it this time, that silly tormenting strand just clung on.  For all my reckless, lunatic thrashing, I just couldn’t make it go away.  I finally had to take my shorts down, find my gosh-darned spectacles (don’t get me started on that one either) and inspect them for the vexatious, random, drive-me-to-drink strand of flipping hair that was apparently wound around the threads, and physically yank it off.  Deep breath…long exhale…wooo…and life goes on.

In a proverbial way, that’s kind of what also happened to me with my devotions this morning.  I was just reading my short little scripture and commentary for June 9th when a thought got attached to my shorts – well, okay, not my shorts but you know what I mean.  The scripture was “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life…”

Seems harmless enough right?  But in the devotion, and the footnotes of my Bible, it said John 6:35 was the first of seven “I AM” declarations in the book of John.  Well, I finished the devotion, prayed the little prayer that was listed, looked over the recipe (it’s one of those awesome devotionals with a daily recipe included – ), and then I danced off to go start my laundry.

But those “I AMs” were tangled in my thoughts. I tried to sweep them away as I loaded the washer, but they came right back in just a few moments.  “I am… the bread of life,” but who else AM I?   It was as if Jesus was asking me the same question He had asked the disciples in Mark 8 and Matthew 16, and He wasn’t going to leave me alone until I answered Him with the Word.  Who am I?  Who am I?  It tickled in my mind as I left the room.  It tickled as I walked down the hall to the kitchen to unload the dishwasher.  It tickled so much that I finally decided to sit back down at the table, put my spectacles back on (thank God for reading glasses), and search it out with my whole, undivided heart.

I slid my little purple notebook out from under my Bible, opened it up and wrote “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” across the top.  Then I wrote, “The Seven I AMs of John” on the top line.  I looked up the first one in John 6:35, and scanned the margin for the addresses of the other six; of course highlighting each of them in my Bible (with my Crayola fine point twistables colored pencils that I keep in an empty flower pot at my table), and since I was at it, I also colored the header in my notebook .

I thought it was kind of cool that there were seven, because in a recent Bible study I learned that the number seven in scripture is the number of completion or perfection, so I made a note of that also.  Besides writing just words something in me felt a compulsion to also draw little pictures. I don’t know why, but my Bible is covered in them too. It’s just something I do.  I have “doodled” in my Bible since before doodle-journaling in one’s Bible was cool, although not quite as pretty as those fancy modern journaling Bibles.

When I finished finding all seven of Jesus’ I AMs, and coloring all my little illustrations, and finally felt freed by the Holy Spirit to go back to my work; I snapped the cover back closed on my colored pencils, laid my pen on top of my notebook, set my Bible on top of the pile, and then pushed the whole heap to the back of the table.

And then I had the idea to share the whole wonderful experience with you, because I was thinking you might be snagged by the same wild scriptural hair tickling in your brain to know the rest of the story as I was.  Lord knows the Holy Ghost can just be such a nag sometimes – and bless Jesus that He is.  That means Jesus loves us.  He wants you and me to know Him and He wants to know us.

And there really is no more important question on the planet than, Who Do You Say That I Am?  Because there are lots of opinions, but the truth is, there is no other way to eternal life in heaven than through this Man – God in the flesh, King of kings and Lord of lords.  There will be one of only two things spoken to our spirits when we die, either “Well done, good and faithful servant,” or “Away from Me, I never knew you.”  So, it’s pretty important that we know Him and not base our beliefs on the opinions of the people around us.  We don’t have to guess; He told us Himself who He is:

I AM

The Seven “I AM”s of the book of John

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One (1)

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John 6:35,48,51 

I AM…

The Bread of Life, Living Bread

(Manna – Exodus 16:11-18, 31; Numbers 11:6-9; Psalm 42)

Whoever comes to Me shall never hunger [in their spirits, – as the Hebrews hungered in their bodies in the desert, Exodus 16:3].  Whoever believes in me shall never thirst [in their spirits, as the Hebrews thirsted in their bodies in the desert, Exodus 17:3].  Those who eat of Me shall live forever (John 3:16).   Jesus’ body is manna from heaven (Revelation 2:17); He is the communion bread that was broken for us (Matthew 26:26), He gave us life, physically, through creation, and spiritually, through His sacrifice and resurrection (John 14:19).  Praise the Lord, O my soul!

Bread

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John 8:12; 9:5 

I AM…

The Light of the World (John 13:46)

Whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness (Genesis 1:2-4; Revelation 22:5; Ephesians 5:8-14/Psalm 23)

Light

John 8:58 …the “I AM”… who was before Abraham.  The I AM of Exodus 3:14, the burning bush name God told Moses to use when he spoke of Him to the Hebrew people – The “I AM has sent me”  The un-utterable name of God – YHWH, which means without beginning, Ever-present One.

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Three (1)

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John 10:7,9 

I AM…

The Door (the narrow way – Luke 13:22-30)

The Sheep Door. Whoever enters by Me will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  We are the sheep, He is our Shepherd.  He is the door (the only door) by which we first entered earth, and the same narrow way by which we shall enter heaven, and find pasture there.  Though some think there are many pathways to heaven, Jesus clearly teaches that wide and heavily traveled is the way that leads to death, and HE is the ONLY way to heaven.  We must believe in Him (Hebrews 11:6) and repent of our sin (Luke 13:3), and only through Him will we receive a crown of glory that does not fade away (1 Peter 5:4).  Got questions?  Read more here!

door

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John 10:11,14

I AM…

The Good Shepherd

(…not a hireling, who gets paid to babysit, but our Creator, and Passover Lamb who…) gave His life for the sheep, and “other sheep” (Jews & Gentiles).

Shepherd

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Five (1)

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John 11:25

I AM…

The Resurrection and the Life (John 6:40)

The “Firstfruit” of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23; Romans 8:23), who died, was planted in the ground (John 12:24), and rose again to new life (Raptured, as we who also believe in Him shall be: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  Whoever believes in Me, even if he dies, as Lazarus died, yet will we live.

RESURRECTION

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Six(1)

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John 14:6,10,11

I AM…

The Way, The Truth, and The Life (3-fold)

Jesus is the only WAY to the Father.  The Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father – one-in-two and two-in-one, and three-in-one (vs.16-26), the TRINITY, in us!

the way the truth and the life John 14 6

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Seven (1)

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John 15:1

I AM…

The True Vine

… and you are the branches. (Exodus 25:31-40/Revelation 4:5).  Gentiles have been grafted into the Jewish vine (Romans 11:17), into the Jewish family tree.   If you abide in Me and my words abide in you… (Galatians 5:22,23).   The branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine (John 15:4).

Vine

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textured_tree_of_life_menorah_copper_rlmplifeco

 

Just as Jesus (God) did not wish to be alone (John 12:24) in heaven, and so therefore provided a way for you and me to be there with Him, He also is not willing that any in our family or our world should perish either.  He gives us the great commission to go out and make disciples, just like He did.  To spread the gospel, out of His love in our hearts, to the ends of the earth, to fill His great house (Luke 14:15-24).  We sow, and water, but it is the Lord who gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6,7).  Therefore, it is by God’s grace that we are saved, through faith not of works, lest any should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).  And just in case we ever wonder if our faith is real… we’ll know by our desire to do good – to live for others and not ourselves.  Faith without works is evidence of being dead (James 2:14-26).

Be encouraged.  The dead parts of the vine are lovingly pruned by the master of the vineyard, and even the fruitful parts are sometimes pruned that the vine may be more fruitful (John 15:2).  And whether we have baskets overflowing with fruit, or very little to show for, if we have faith we shall all be received into heaven. Our unfruitful works will be burned up, but we ourselves shall be saved (1 Corinthians 3:15, Matthew 15:13), just as the theif on the cross, who had no time left in his life to do any good works.

Beware of False Prophets (Matthew 7:15,16).  You will know them by their fruit also.

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Our Father, who art in heaven

Hallowed be thy name

(“I AM”)

Thy kingdom come    

(Light of the World)

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven 

(True Vine)

Give us this day our daily Bread-of-Life

(food for our bodies and our souls)

And forgive us our debts (trespasses) as we forgive our debtors

 (Resurrection and Life)

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil

(Good Shepherd, Door)

For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever,

(Way, Truth, and Life)

AMEN

 

 

But what about you? Who do you say that I AM? 

Matthew 16:15

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The Seven I AMs (1)

Choose you this day whom you will serve!

 

 

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