Jesus said, “I am.”
One of the wonderful things about the four Gospels of the New Testament is that each of them has their own way of recounting the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This diversity of story and format has allowed many people to come to Christ through the Gospel that speaks most clearly to them about the difference that Jesus can make in their life and story. For instance, if you were to poll individuals in a Sunday school class on which was their favorite Gospel, they would often tell you a different one.
A few months ago we considered the uniqueness of the Gospel of Mark and a certain type of story that this gospel used to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. As we considered these ‘intercalations’ or ‘Sandwich Stories,’ we saw how Mark paired stories together to deepen their meaning in ways that would have been impossible had these stories been left as individual units.
This past Sunday, we began a new sermon series that will again consider the uniqueness of one of the Gospels that we love, the Gospel of John. One thing that makes the Gospel of John unique is Jesus’ use of the ‘I Am’ statements. In the first sermon we discovered that Jesus’ statement, “I am: the light of the world,” (John 8:12) brought new meaning to one of the Jewish festivals in which they were reminded of God’s provision and guidance for them during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
Part of this yearly celebration was the lighting of large lamps within the temple that gave light to the rest of Jerusalem that they might continue their celebrations late into the evening. These lamps reminded the people of God’s fiery presence in the wilderness, as well as a symbolic looking forward to the coming of God’s Messiah who would truly be the Light of the World.
It was during the lighting of these lamps that Jesus proclaimed within the temple courtyard that he was the light. This statement seemed radical to the Jewish leaders gathered there that evening and they challenged him on this statement. Because they were unwilling to embrace his teaching they rejected Jesus’ testimony, and failed to receive the Light Jesus offered them.
As we continue through the Season of Lent we will continue to discover the meaning of these ‘I Am’ statements that we will not miss the significance of what Jesus continues to mean to us today, so we may also embody these truths to the world.
Rev. John Embrey
|Sermon Series: “I Am”|
|March 1||“I Am: Bread”||John 6:25-40|
|March 1||“I Am: Gate, Way, Truth & Life”||John 10:1-10 & 14:1-7|
|March 1||“I Am: Good Shepherd”||John 10:11-18|
|March 1||“I Am: Vine”||John 15:1-11|
|March 1||“I Am: King”||John 18:28-38|
|April 2 (Holy Thursday)||“I Am: He”||John 6:16-21 & 18:1-6|
|April 5 (Easter)||“I Am: Resurrection”||John 11:17-27|