The Great "Ego Eimi"

Sermon delivered on February 21st, 2016

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

Scripture Text: John 8:51-59

 

Introduction

This morning I would like to start a brand new series of messages that would answer the question, "Who is Jesus Christ?" It is important to believe the biblical Jesus. A Biblical understanding of Jesus Christ is crucial to our salvation. The Christ we believe, the Christ we trust, must be true if we are to be redeemed. A false Christ or a substitute Christ cannot save. Ultimately our faith stands or falls with the biblical Jesus. Furthermore, a wrong concept of Christ and wrong relationship with Him will produce wrong life and behavior.

 

Many cults and world religions today, claim to believe in Jesus Christ. The problem is that they do not believe in the Jesus Christ presented in the Bible. People have many different views about Jesus Christ, and there is nothing new under the sun. This was also the case in Jesus' time. Remember the occasion when our Lord asked His disciples in ...

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 

 

There were many different views of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 

 

Even today, there is a widespread confusion about who Jesus is and why He came. Then our Lord asked His disciples ...

15: He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 

 

But this morning consider with me, not so much what other people say about Jesus Christ, but what did Jesus Christ say about Himself? Who did Jesus say that He was?

 

He is the Great "I AM"

53: Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 

Are You greater than our father Abraham? He died, as did the prophets. Who do You claim to be?

 

56: Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57: Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58: Jesus said unto them, Verily,verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am

Here we see Jesus Christ applying to Himself the very name of God. The name "I AM", (EGO EIMI) is the same name by which God revealed Himself to the Jews, when He sent Moses to redeem them from Egypt.

 

Exodus 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14: And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

 

What does the name "I AM" signify or teach us?

Without a doubt, this name is full of meaning and full of practical implications. It contains things which no natural eyes could see and no natural mind could comprehend. 

 

Remember what our Lord said to Peter after his great confession?

Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17: And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

 

May God open our eyes to see and reveal Himself to us in a powerful and fresh way.

 

1. "I AM" signifies pre-existence

Observe, how clearly and boldly our Lord declares His own pre-existence. We read that He said to the Jews, "Before Abraham was, I am."

 

This name teaches us that our Lord Jesus Christ existed long before He came into the world. Jesus did not start in that stable in Bethlehem, He existed before the day He laid in that manger. Before the days of Abraham He was. Before man was created He was. It is a distinct assertion of our Lord's eternity - His existence before all creation. 

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

 

No wonder He could say ...

56: Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57: Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 

 

At this time, Jesus was about thirty years old but He claimed that He was before Abraham. He is the ever present God. It is not that He was, but is no more. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is and still is.

 

This leads us to the second thing it teaches us ...

 

2. "I AM" signifies divinity or deity

He did not say, "...Before Abraham was, I was." "Before Abraham was, I am."

 

He existed before His birth which is a statement claiming His divinity. He is telling us that He not only existed before Abraham, but He is infinitely greater than Abraham, that He was the God that Abraham worshipped. The Lord Jesus was no ordinary man like, He is the One who is from everlasting to everlasting, the same yesterday, today, and forever, the very self-existent, eternal God.

 

Clearly the Jews understood what Christ meant. They knew all too well that He was claiming to be God.  

 

In verse 59, we read, 

59: Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

They picked up stones to kill Him. Why? They considered this bold claim, blasphemy. They counted Him a blasphemer and so He was if He was not all He claimed to be. He not only made Himself equal with God but made Himself God by using the same name as God.  The legal penalty of blasphemy or claiming to be God was death by stoning (Leviticus 24:11,16). There are three occasions in the book of John where they tried to stone Him, and each time it was connected with making Himself God

 

Then later, they brought before Pilate the accusation ...

John 19:7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

 

3. "I AM" signifies immutability

The "I AM" implies continuous existence without variation. What Christ is today, He always has been and will be. He did not become the "I AM"; neither can He cease to be the "I AM".

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Abraham was, but I AM! It means He is. He has been, He is in this moment, and He always will be—God!

 

4. "I AM" signifies sufficiency

Not only does this name point to the pre-existence, deity and immutability of Christ but also it points to His sufficiency. The name "I AM" seems to be incomplete. "I AM" what? God through this name is saying to us, "I AM whatever you need!" He is our everything. He is all I need. No wonder He is called the Great I Am. 

 

In the Gospel of John we see how the Lord Jesus Christ sought to communicate this truth. Jesus made several "I AM" statements which supported His deity and explained His purpose for coming to earth.

 

"I AM the bread of life" (John 6:35).

"I AM the light of the world" (John 8:12; 9:5).

"I AM the door" (John 10:7).

"I AM the good shepherd" (John 10: 11, 14).

"I AM the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25).

"I AM the way, truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

"I AM the true vine" (John 15:1)

 

For every need, He is the answer. The Lord is whatever we need. If we need salvation, He Himself will be salvation to us. 

 

He also said to the Jews ...

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, (ego eimi) ye shall die in your sins. 

 

Notice the word "he" is in italic. The italicized words in the King James Bible are words that were supplied by the translators to help the reader. This is usually necessary when translating from one language to another because word meanings and expressions change. However, to make sure that everyone understood that these words were not in the available manuscripts they set them in italics.

 

So if you read this in the original manuscript, it would read ...

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am, (ego eimi) ye shall die in your sins. 

 

He is our salvation!

 

Whatever you need, Jesus is. Do you need light, life, power, wisdom, holiness, or righteousness? Jesus Himself is light, life, power, wisdom, holiness, and righteousness. Everything we need is found in the name of Jesus. How high and how rich is this wonderful name!

 

I Am Peace 

 

When I feel afraid, and dark is my way,

When I cannot find the words I should pray,

His voice comes to me, a song in the night,

And all the fears and shadows flee before His light.

 

The world cannot give the peace of my Lord.

Their words cannot bring the joy of His word.

His burden is light, and easy His yoke,

He gives me rest, He gives me life, He gives me hope.

 

Chorus:

 

He says, I am peace. I am joy.

I am all in all. I am strength to stand.

I am truth, I am love, 

I am all you need, for I am that I am.

 

I am courage in the fight, 

I am He that holds your hand.

I am refuge in the night, 

For I am that I am!.

 

Practical Applications

Consider the One who came to save sinners

The One who came to save sinners is nothing less than the great I AM, the eternal Son of God. It was "I AM" who brought Israel out of the land of Egypt. It was "I AM" who died for us upon the cross. 

 

1. How serious our sins must be

To understand the exceeding sinfulness of sin, look at the One who came to redeem us from our sins. 

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14: Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

 

"Let us mark what kind of Being the Redeemer of mankind must needs be, in order to provide eternal redemption for sinners. If no one less than the Eternal God, the Creator and Preserver of all things, could take away the sin of the world, sin must be a far more abominable thing in the sight of God than most men suppose. The right measure of sin's sinfulness is the dignity of Him who came into the world to save sinners. If Christ is so great, then sin must indeed be sinful!" - J. C. Ryle. 

 

2. How great His love must be

If it took the great I AM to save us, how great His love for us must be. 

John 3:16 

 

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

 

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5: Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

 

It is true that we are great sinners and our sins are great but we have a great Saviour whose grace is greater than all our sins.

 

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,

Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!

Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured,

There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

 

Refrain

Grace, grace, God's grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

Grace, grace, God's grace,

Grace that is greater than all our sin.

 

Come and be saved!

He is willing. He is ready. He is able.

Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

 

Because He is the "I AM", He is mighty to save!

The Saviour we are invited to trust and to believe in is not a mere man. We are invited to believe in a powerful Saviour - the great I  AM.

 

How powerful is He? 

John 18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. 2: And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. 3: Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4: Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5: They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6: As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

 

"This, occurring before His surrender, would show His power over His enemies, and so the freedom with which He gave Himself up." -Meyer

 

This is the One you and I are called to trust for salvation!

 

My closing words is to get to know the great I AM! Don't rest until you know that you know the great I AM!

 

AMEN!