May 22, 2009

I Am

Exodus 3:1-15

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
John 8:58


There’s a story about an early church father who ran from a Roman public bath when a famous heretic came in. “Flee for your lives!” he shouted; “God’s judgment will fall on the heretic, and the roof will cave in!”

I don’t agree that we should avoid people whose faith is unorthodox. But when we talk with them, we need to know our Bible. In fact, if we don’t feel confident enough of our knowledge of the Bible, we should study till we understand enough to speak knowledgeably and gently to others (see 1 Peter 3:15).

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are very active in Japan, going from house to house, urging people to study the Bible with them. I took them up on the offer for quite a while. Sadly though, at the heart of their teaching they walked right past the very Jehovah they proclaim.

Often we turn to Exodus 3, where God says to Moses, “‘I am who I am.’ This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” A traditional way of pronouncing the Hebrew for “I am” is Jehovah.

One day Jesus said to his accusers, “Before Abraham was born, I am!”—and he was not making a mistake in grammar. He was claiming to be the same God who spoke to Moses, and his accusers knew exactly what he meant. Christ is not a created being, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses say; instead he is the eternal I am!

Lord, please open the eyes of all who need to know who Jesus Christ really is—not just a great teacher and prophet but also the one true God. In his name we pray. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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