Waynedale United Methodist Church
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

March 4, 2018 Sermon

“The I AM Sayings of Jesus”
Exodus 3:13, 14, John 6:26 – 35
Ted Jansen March 4, 2018 Waynedale UMC
 

1.)        We all hunger. We hunger for food, we hunger for relationship, we hunger for God. We might not think about our hunger in those areas but I invite us to consider the life of Jesus who said one day “I AM the bread of life.” These words from John 6:35 will give us insight into our hunger and God’s identity and character. In order to look at Jesus’ words we need to go back into Exodus when we first read the words “I AM” and discover their meaning. 

 

2.)        The book of Exodus tells us that the Egyptians had kept the Israelites as slaves and servants for 400 years. The conditions were getting harder and harder for the Israelites. 

When the cries of the people were too much God decided to bring His people out of slavery into freedom and a new life. This plan started with the life of Moses and his rescue as a baby, then his upbringing in Pharaoh’s house, then time in the wilderness. 

One day while Moses was in the wilderness that he saw a burning bush that was not being consumed and went closer. He heard the voice of God in the midst of that bush. God wanted Moses to go to the Pharaoh and ask for the freedom of the Israelite people.     

            Moses then talks to God and says what happens if the people ask me what is your name. What do I tell them? God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM.” Tell them that I AM sent you.    

            Other translations use these words: “I AM the one who is,” or “I will be what I will be.” 

 

3.)        One thing in the question that Moses asked was also an inquiry as to the character of God. Not only was Moses wanting to know a name, but what kind of God are you? 

            When God says, I AM, what is revealed in these words is God’s character of being personal. God wants to be known. God is not transcendent and aloof. 

When God says, I AM, this describe the character that God fulfills promises. The promise that God made to Abraham was being fulfilled in this moment. 

When God says, I AM, God’s character was expressed that the redemption of people is essential to me.   

            This name, I AM who I AM, means a God who is personal, who redeems, who keeps promises. 

 

4.)        The name of God, I AM, or YHWH, was something that in the Ten Commandments was not be misused. So, some Jews did not speak or write the name of God, even to today. They want to keep the name of the Lord holy.    

            With that background I invite you to discover John’s description of Jesus one day.  

 

5.)        In John 6 a miracle occurred when a large crowd of people were fed from a few loaves of bread and a few fish. Let’s walk through John 6:26 - 35. 

26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.   **They came to Jesus out of hunger for food. They might have had some spiritual hunger and Jesus meets them where they are but wants to reveal something to them.  

            27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”   **Jesus is wanting them to focus on God the Father and the Son. 

            28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” **The people are interested now in what God wants. They are leaning in.  

            29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” *This is vital in John’s Gospel. John describes the work of God as believing in the Father and the Son. The one who was sent for a purpose, to show the Father. 

            30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[c] **The people are wanting something to base their belief on. They are thinking of manna, bread that was given. Maybe they are hungry?   

            32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” **Jesus then speaks to the people and is giving them insights into Moses, God, and the one, who like bread, has come from heaven.   Jesus uses the term, “my Father,” to describe His relationship with God. The people are drawn in and are wondering about this message that Jesus is speaking to them about.  

            34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” **Their hearts are open to Jesus. They ate bread one day but now they want this bread that can give life to them. They still might think it is like manna, but they are leaning into Jesus as He speaks to them.   

            35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.    **Jesus focused the symbol of bread, and His relationship with the Father and used the words, I AM, as he describes His life. The phrase, “bread of life,” connected to them because of what they have been talking about.  

  

6.)        When Jesus used those words, “I AM,” it was seen as holy and should not be misused. It was the name reserved for God. The character of God is revealed in I AM who I AM. God is personal, God is about redemption, and God keeps promises.      

            Yet this is not the only time that Jesus describes Himself with I AM. Seven more times in John’s Gospel does Jesus use I AM.   I AM: bread, light, gate, shepherd, resurrection/life, truth/life, vine. Each time Jesus used that phrase Jesus is saying to us, I AM!     

             

7.)        We all hunger for food, for bread, we hunger for relationship, we hunger for God. As we think and consider our hunger understand that Jesus is here and calling us to believe. When Jesus said I AM the bread of life we are invited to eat, believe, trust and share that life. 

We are going to eat of the bread of life that He will offer us in our celebration of Communion today.   We are going to receive the gift of faith in God Almighty. The I AM. We are going to receive the gift of a life of relationship with others in the Body of Christ, the church. We are going to receive a commission to go and make disciples of all people. As we consider this great commission. Listen to the last part of Jesus words in Matthew 28:20. “I AM with you always.”