May 24, 2016

“I AM . . . .”

Yesterday, buoyed by a good night’s sleep and rich anticipation, we spent the day with a distant cousin and his wife, the second time I’d seen him as an adult. We had a wonderful day filled with conversation without ceasing or awkwardness, as if we’ve known one another our entire lives.

They are not Christian, yet a similar upbringing made for a unity that would normally not be present. We were in harmony even on the things we didn’t agree. I have to say much of this happened because of who my cousin is — a kind, engaging, objective, and transparent person.

Chambers writes today about my relationship with Jesus Christ, a relationship of the greatest intimacy. He says there are times when God cannot reveal Himself any other way but in majesty, which has the effect of putting us on our faces. John wrote in the last book of the New Testament . . .

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17–18)

John knew Jesus well, but this was different. Jesus appeared in incredible glory and the apostle fell before Him, unable to rise apart from the right hand of the Lord and hearing the words of who He is and His power over death.

This made me remember the times where life’s awfulness brought me to the feet of Jesus. I fell on my face, not because He initially appeared in glory, but because my needs were so overwhelming. The similarity was the hand of the Lord, His touch. It was not to hold me down or correct me, but to bring peace and comfort, to drive away the terrors. As with John, He says, “Fear not, I am . . . .”

In John’s case the “I am” was about the power of Christ over death. No matter what he saw in the revelations to come, John had that assurance that Jesus Christ was in charge of death and the grave. These do not mean the end simply because Jesus conquered both.
In my case, the “I am” utterances that He makes declare realities that sustain me in the dark and troublesome trials of life. Here are some of them . . .

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)

When I work yoked alongside Jesus and learn from Him, whatever hardship and toil is happening do not have the same effect on me as they once did. Jesus makes a difference, even when the challenges remain.

 . . . And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

I never need to ask Jesus to, be with me. He is always here, always holding my hand.

For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. (Luke 22:27)

This is the Son of God speaking! He came not to be served, but to serve His people in humility. He calls me to a lofty position as His child, a saved and set-apart person, yet to be like Jesus, I am to serve others!

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35) . . . . “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Both these verses give promises of satisfaction in life, of having what is needed when feeling empty and in the dark. So many times, Jesus has said to me, “Fear not, I am what you need.”

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Jesus is my source of life. I could say more, yet He says it all. Apart from Him, I can do nothing, for He is what I need and all I need.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Some say Christians are narrow-minded or other less polite names because we claim Jesus is the only way to God. They say there are many ways, but if that is true, then Jesus is either a lunatic or a liar — but all evidence declares His integrity; He speaks and lives truth. While His claim is offensive to many and wholly dogmatic, He said it — not that He is a way, a truth, a life, but the way, the truth, the life. He has forgiven my sin and taken my hand so that I can stand before His father and my Father with joy.

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