Where Is Your Faith? Kay Keith Peebles

Faith will always be tested!  Abraham had an encounter with the Lord God at the age of 75.  His family had lived in Ur of the Chaldees and they were idol worshippers.  The Lord God called Abraham (Abram) to come away from his family and serve Him.  Abraham obeyed and the Lord promised him descendants that would be as numerous as the sands of the seashore or the stars in the sky.  That was a big promise to a man 75 years of age and childless at the time!  He and Sarah (Sarai), his wife, were long past the natural ability to bear children.  The Bible says “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness”.  Romans 4:3.

I believe the Lord quickened Abraham’s body to life the moment he believed Him, but Sarah was not quickened until it was time for the fulfillment of His promise.  Years passed and Sarah had not conceived so she convinced Abraham that she knew how the Lord would fulfill the promise of a child.  She gave her concubine Hagar to Abraham and Hagar conceived a son they named Ishmael.  Abraham and Sarah believed the promise of the Lord, but they mistakenly thought God needed their help in bringing it to pass.  Time can definitely be a test of faith.  If that was Abraham’s test, he partially failed by thinking Hagar would be the surrogate for Sarah.  All that Abraham and Sarah accomplished was to create chaos in their family and in all the generations to come, with their meddling in God’s plan.  The Lord re-affirmed His promise to Abraham, and Isaac was born when Abraham was 99 years old and Sarah was 89.

Their story did not end there, however.  Several more years passed until Isaac became a young man.  The Lord called Abraham to go up to the mountain and offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice.  Isaac was the son God had promised.  He had waited 25 years for him to be born.  In faithful obedience, Abraham loaded his donkey with sticks for the fire, together with all the supplies needed for the trip.  He and Isaac headed up the mountain of the Lord.  Isaac asked his father what they were going to sacrifice to God when he noticed that there was not a lamb with them.  Abraham replied, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.”  Genesis 22:8.

Father and son reached the top of the mountain and Abraham began to prepare the altar for the sacrifice.  Knowing his instructions and not seeing any other options, Abraham bound Isaac and laid him on the altar.  Holding a knife, he raised his hand in obedience but the Lord stopped him from killing Isaac.  The test had been successful and Abraham’s undeniable faith in God had been proven.  The Lord’s response to Abraham was powerful, “For now I know that you fear God [with reverence and profound respect], since you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son [of promise].”  Genesis 22:12.  Having partially failed the first test of time, Abraham proved without any doubt that he trusted the Lord in regard to Isaac and the promise for his descendants through Isaac’s life.  Through his act of obedience, Abraham discovered a powerful revelation about God’s character.  God revealed Himself to Abraham that day as Jehovah-Jireh, The Lord My Provider.  His faith in the Lord’s ability to fulfill His promise of descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky was sealed.  God has since achieved His promise to Abraham.  His descendants are those of the Jewish faith and because of Ishmael, so are all the Arabic Muslims.  God’s promise was not only a physical one, it was also a spiritual one.  All who believe in Jesus, Abraham’s descendant and God’s Son, are also spiritual “children” of Abraham.  Faith will always be tested.

Jesus taught His disciples about the Kingdom of God.  It was time to see just how much they had retained from observing Him heal the sick, drive out demons and raise the dead.  No ordinary man could do such miracles.  Israel’s leaders had rejected and killed the prophets God had sent to keep them pure in their faith.  It had been close to 500 years since the last prophet had spoken the word of the Lord or done miracles in Israel.  Israel’s leadership had become corrupted and as a result, many of the people were filled with unbelief.

Jesus invited 12 men to be His disciples and accompany Him so that He could mentor them about His Kingdom.  He was training them in the work they would be doing when He had accomplished all that God had sent Him here to do.  They had watched as He went from place to place doing miracles and drawing a following throughout Israel.  They had seen Him deliver the demon possessed and put them back into their right mind.  They had witnessed Jesus healing the blind and causing the deaf to hear.  They had experienced the dead being raised to life!  Every day they walked with Jesus  saw miracles that amazed the multitudes.

The Lord was reaching many people and wherever they went, the crowds would gather.  It was important to move from one area to another so that He would reach most of Israel.  One day Jesus and the disciples took a boat and crossed the Sea of Galilee (lake) so that they could reach the people on the other side.   The large lake was surrounded by hills which obstructed their view of incoming weather.  It was common for violent storms to swiftly move through the hills undetected, endangering those on the lake who were unable to get to safety in time.

Exhausted from a long day of ministry, Jesus had laid down to rest and fell asleep in the boat.  A violent storm producing strong gusty winds and crashing waves threatened to capsize their boat.  The disciples were terrified thinking they would all die.  In a panic, they woke Jesus from his sleep.  He commanded the wind and the waves to cease and peace immediately returned.  Jesus then turned to the 12 disciples and rebuked them for their lack of faith.  They had been following Him for some time and had seen many miracles.  Didn’t they hear Him say they were going to the other side?  Had they forgotten so quickly that everything He spoke came to pass?  The storm contradicted what Jesus said.  It was a test of faith.  Did they believe their circumstances more than His words?  Yes, storms would arise, but Jesus was training them that through Him, they had the authority to calm the wind and the waves.  When Jesus is in your boat, you will get to the other side!  Faith will always be tested!

It wasn’t long after that experience Jesus sent His 12 disciples out to minister to the people.  He later sent out 70 of His disciples two by two with the same instruction to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to the people.  He gave them the authority to heal the sick and cast out demons.  He was preparing them for His departure from earth because He was leaving them to continue the work that He did while He was here.  He was allowing them to see that when He left, they would not be helpless, rather, they would be empowered to continue His work.  All four Gospels affirm that the authority of Christ was given to His disciples.  A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ and the anointing that was/is upon Him is also upon His disciples (followers, ambassadors, representatives of His Kingdom).  That means you and me!

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these.”  John 14:12.  Hebrews Chapter 11 teaches that faith comes by hearing the word of God.  It also explains that true faith believes in what is unseen rather than what is already visible.  Faith has nothing to do with our ability, but it has everything to do with what the Lord has said and His ability to keep His promise.

Unbelief trusts in what is seen in the natural realm and doubts or disregards what the Bible says is truth.  When Jesus went to Nazareth and preached in the area where He lived as a child, He could do very few miracles.  The Bible explains that the people had unbelief because they saw Him as the child they watched growing up before them.  They could not get past the young boy they knew, to see who He really was.  They saw Him as Joseph’s son, not as the Son of God!  They saw Him as a mere man, not as their promised Messiah!  Where there is unbelief, faith is negated and miracles cannot happen.

Faith begins at the moment we believe in Jesus as our Savior and Lord.  Our transformation from unbelief to faith is a journey, as we believe the Word of God as the only truth.   We begin to understand that the world system will contradict the Word of God and the work of the enemy is to challenge our faith, hoping we will give up.  Our paradigm shift to faith is continually challenged by the enemy to keep us from becoming true Disciples of Christ.  If we simply believe in our salvation, we have not fulfilled the full call to Discipleship in Christ. Jesus called His Disciples to go forth and preach the Good News of the Kingdom, heal the sick and cast out demons just as they saw Him do.  We are called to be His witnesses (ambassadors) who attest to His existence and His Kingdom.  We are to allow His Spirit to flow through us and around us so that the freedom (deliverance), restoration (healing) and blessings (salvation and provision) of His Kingdom will be experienced by others.

The ministry of Jesus has not changed.  He is still touching people, healing and delivering them.  What is amazing is the realization that He chooses to let us participate with Him.  When we are filled with His Holy Spirit we are carriers of His Kingdom.  When we are God led, what we speak will have the authority that His words have.  When we are one with Him as He is with the Father, committed to do His will, we will do the works He did on earth and more!

Our faith will be tested and challenged.  The enemy fears our believing in the true call to Discipleship and walking in the authority of heaven!  Those who see and believe will do great exploits in His name through His power and instructed by His will.  There is a long lineage of those who believed in Him who have gone before us. We must not only celebrate their faith and their obedience to the Lord, we must rise and take our place in His body of believers.  As disciples, we must continue to make His name known and carry His Kingdom wherever He calls us.  It is good to ask ourselves the question, ‘Where is your faith?’  True faith does not come from us; it comes from the Lord.  Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

I AM, Part 6 Larry W Peebles

I AM, Part 6   Larry W Peebles   November 17, 2017   17.44

My wife and I have been married over 48 years, and have known each other for over 51 years.  We fell in love immediately when we met, but after we married we soon realized we were more different than we were similar.  The early years of our marriage were a struggle as we searched for our marital identity.  Genesis 2:24 says that at marriage a man and wife “become one flesh”, and while that is certainly true, it can take time before they operate as one.  After years of living together, learning each other’s ways, experiencing trial and error, having intense discussions, and really coming to know each other, we matured and grew into one.  Now in our marriage there is solidarity, dependability, and a trust that is the most precious thing I know.  We have grown to know each other’s preferences, habits, and even thoughts.  More and more we move and act as one.  The deep familiarity has fueled the growth of even more love.  As our faith in Jesus has grown, we have experienced the power of a third person in our marriage.  His presence has added strength to fend off the attacks that come against every marriage.

The disciple John and Jesus grew that close.   John, Peter and James were the three disciples closest to Jesus, and they were the three disciples who not only witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration, they also saw Moses and Elijah with Him.  (Matthew 17:1).  They were the only ones invited into the house of the ruler of the synagogue when Jesus prayed for his daughter who had died and brought her back to life. (Mark 5:37).  These were also the three disciples Jesus asked to go further into the Garden of Gethsemane for more intense prayer as Jesus’ betrayal approached.  (Mark 14:33).  They clearly were the inner circle of disciples who were closest to Jesus.

In the Gospel of John, however, it is John who is referred to six times as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”  It was John who laid his head on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper.  (John 13:23).  Following His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples and spoke to them about what was to come.  He said Peter would be bound and “taken where he did not want to go”, meaning imprisonment and death.  Peter then asked Jesus “What about this man?”, referring to John.  Jesus responded “If I will that he remains until I come, what is that to you?”  (John 21:22).  John explained in verse 23 that this did not necessarily mean he would not die, but church history teaches that he was the only disciple to die a natural death.  Although he was lowered into a vat of hot oil at Ephesus, he did not die.  He was exiled by the Romans for a while to the island of Patmos, but his faith was not silenced at the hands of man.  Although ready to die for the Gospel he had received from Jesus, he in fact died peacefully of old age.

In writing the Book of John, he wanted the world to know Jesus as intimately as he did.  John 20:31 says- “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”  He desperately wanted to reveal the identity, character, and deity of Jesus to the world.  He used the “I AM” statements of Jesus to do that.  All of the “I AM” statements we have studied in this series have come from the Gospel of John and Book of Revelation, books written by John:

  1. I AM the bread of life. John 6:35.  Part 1.
  1. I AM the light of the world. John 8:12.  Part 1.
  1. I AM the gate/door. John 10:9.  Part 1.
  1. I AM the good shepherd. John 10:11.  Part 2.
  1. I AM the resurrection and the life. John 11:25-26. Part 2.
  1. I AM the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6.  Part 2.
  1. I AM the true vine. John 15:1. Part 2.
  1. I AM the Alpha (Beginning) and the Omega (End). Revelation 1:8 and 1:17-18, Revelation 21:6, and 22:13.  Part 3.
  1. I AM the Root and Offspring of David. Revelation 22:16.  Part 4.
  1. I AM the Bright Morning Star. Revelation 22:16.  Part 4. 
  1. I AM before Abraham was. John 8:58.  Part 5. 
  1. It is I AM; do not be afraid. John 6:20.  Part 5. 

One reason John carefully recorded these I AM statements of Jesus was so the world would come to know the great expanse of His character and nature.  When we know Jesus and believe in Him as John did, we become one with Him.  Ephesians 5: 30-32 speaks of the strength of this unity- “For we [believers] are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’  This is a great mystery, but I [Paul] speak concerning Christ and the church.”  [Inserts mine.]  1 Corinthians 6: 16-17 adds- “For the two [husband and wife], He says, shall become one flesh.  But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”  [Insert mine.]  His desire was we become one with Christ, as Jesus prayed in John 17: 20-22- “I do not pray for these [disciples] alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one as we are one.”  [Insert mine.]

Again, when we know Jesus as John knew Him (intimately, as the I AM), we become one with Him.  When we pray in His name (I AM), and we pray allowing His spirit to pray through us, we pray effective and powerful prayers.  In John 16: 23-24, Jesus issued a new instruction to the disciples- “In that day you will not [need to] ask Me about anything.  I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whatever you ask the Father in [the merit of] My name [presenting all that I AM, and as the representative of I AM], He will give you.  Until now you have not asked in My name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete.”  Amplified version.

When we know Jesus as John knew Him, and we allow His spirit to pray through us, we also are one with and pray on behalf of the King.  We are issuing decrees and commands in the name of the King.  As a representative or ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20) of the King, we speak in prayer with the granted authority from the throne.  Even devils know and recognize that authority, and must obey.  Declarations must be followed, and commands obeyed.  Failure to obey the commands of the King will result in certain death.

It is not enough to teach and follow the faith.  There must be evidence of a power flowing out of that faith through a connection and oneness with the Spirit of Jesus.  Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2: 4-5- “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”  When we know Jesus (the I AM), believe in Him, and pray through His spirit, the power of prayer will be there.  Then lives and situations can be impacted, and the world will believe and be changed.

Sovereign Prayers Kay Keith Peebles

Kay K. Peebles

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pharaohs of Egypt were considered to be Gods.  They had sovereignty over all the people of Egypt.  When a Pharaoh declared a law or a ruling whether right or wrong, it would be done.  A person or a nation that has jurisdiction, rule, supremacy, dominion, power, ascendancy, control or influence over others has “sovereignty” over them.

Thutmose II was probably the Pharaoh in Egypt when Joseph was second in charge.  It is not clear who was Pharaoh when God called Moses to set the Israelite slaves free.  When Jacob moved his family to Egypt as protection from years of drought and suffering, they were just a few hundred in number.  Over the years, the Israelites prospered and multiplied to the degree their population became a threat to Egypt.  A succeeding Pharaoh, who did not know Joseph or how his godly wisdom protected Egypt from starvation, decided he needed to take strict measures to ensure they could not overthrow his kingdom or sovereignty.  In order to control this substantial group of people who were in the country and not natural born Egyptians, Pharaoh chose to enslave the Israelites.  Pharaoh used his sovereignty in Egypt to solve an imagined threat to his nation and his leadership.  The oppression of slavery kept the Jewish people weak and wanton for 400 years although they continued to multiply.  It was a diabolical way of controlling them but Pharaoh was about to learn he was not sovereign in all the earth, and he would soon have an encounter with the One who was.

The Lord enlisted Moses, a mere man, to demonstrate to Pharaoh His power and sovereignty over the earth.  He instructed Moses, “Behold, I make you as God to Pharaoh [to declare My will and purpose to him]”.  He continued, “You shall speak all that I command you…The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord when I stretch forth My hand upon Egypt and bring out the Israelites from among them.”  The results were amazing, “And the Lord did according to the word of Moses”.  (See Exodus 7).

Jesus’ ministry on earth was a clear demonstration of the sovereignty of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).  He had/has sovereignty over: demons, nations, the earth, life, death and eternity.  He also judged Satan.  “About judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world [Satan] is judged and condemned and sentence already is passed upon him.”  John 16:11.  The only reason so much evil is happening in the earth is because mankind still has free will choice.  Our choices affect not only ourselves, but everyone else on earth.  What we say or do gives authority to either Satan’s kingdom of darkness or God’s kingdom of light.  When we are totally aligned with the Lord, we are able to pray sovereign prayers which bring heaven to earth!

The time for Jesus to die on the cross and be resurrected was approaching.  He was leaving His disciples with instructions in order to prepare them for His departure.  Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.  He instructed them, “I tell you that My Father will grant you whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].  Up to this time you have not asked a [single] thing in My Name [as presenting all that I AM]; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete.” John 16:23b-24.

Jesus continued by praying not only for His disciples, but for those of us who would believe in Him throughout the generations.  (See John 17:19-26).  He prayed that we would be one with each other and with the Father as He is one with the Father.  “That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in you, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.  I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one; I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me…I have made Your Name known to them and revealed Your character and Your very Self, and I will continue to make [You] known, that the love which You have bestowed upon Me may be in them [felt in their hearts] and that I [Myself] may be in them.”

When we become one with Christ as He is one with the Father, our prayers will become sovereign prayers.  When our will is surrendered to our Lord as His will was completely surrendered to God, including death on the cross, we will be one with Him.  Jesus will reveal to us the character and will of the Father as we surrender our lives to Him.  When we know the character and will of the Father, our prayers in His name will be upheld by His sovereign power.

There are two sources available for us to know the will and character of God.  They are the written Word of God (logos, Bible) and the revealed Word of God by the Holy Spirit (rhema).  The (rehma) Word will not contradict the (logos) Word or Character of the Lord.  The Bible clearly and succinctly makes known the character of God and the character of Satan.  We know from the Word of God that Satan is a liar, a thief, a destroyer, a murderer, one who oppresses, controls, deceives and enslaves people and one who is directly opposed to God.  His goal is to possess and destroy people whom God loves.  We know he is the source of pride and he rebelled against the rule of God.  We know that the devil’s kingdom has set itself against everything that God’s kingdom represents.  Their kingdoms are diametrically opposed to one another.

By the Word of God, we know that the Lord is:  Creator, Life, Joy, Truth, Good (Kind), Gentle (Meek), Love, Patient, Faithful, Righteous, Holy, Just, Merciful, Resurrection, Light, Sovereign, All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and Everywhere (Omnipresent) to name a few.  He is the Door to the Father, the Way in which to walk, and the Savior of all who believe in Him.  He is Deliverer who sets the devil’s captives free and much, much more.

There are some truths we know about Jesus’ ministry from reading the four Gospels which empower us to pray “Sovereign Prayers”:

1)  He came to seek and to save the lost and desires that none should perish.  John 3:16-17, Luke 19:9-11.  Knowing this truth, we can pray for the unsaved and expect God to change their hearts because His will is that they not perish!   We can confidently pray and fast for their salvation and keep persisting in prayer until we see it come to pass.

2)  It is God’s will to heal.  Everyone that came to Jesus for healing was healed.  He did not reject anyone who cried out for healing.  A man with leprosy approached Jesus and asked “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean”, and Jesus replied, “I am willing. Be cleansed.”  Matthew 8:2.  We can pray for the sick and fully expect that they will be healed.  Mark 16:18, Matthew 10:5-6.

3)  Everyone who was demon possessed was delivered and set free.  Even though Jesus was sent to the Jews first, He willingly delivered the Canaanite woman’s daughter who was possessed by demons.  We have been given the authority to cast out demons in His name.  Mark 16:17, Matthew 10:5-6, Luke 10:1-24.

4)  The Holy Spirit Who dwells in us prays through us.  We can pray the will of God through the help of the Holy Spirit.  Mark 16:17, Ephesians 6:18.  Romans 8:27 says, “And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.”

5)  We can pray (declare) His written Word (Bible verses) over ourselves and others, which is His will, and God will answer our prayers.  Isaiah 55:11, “So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth:  it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

6)  We can pray against premature death over others.  It is clear in the Bible that the enemy has a plan to kill, steal from and destroy our lives.  We also know that God created us with specific plans and purposes that are good and not evil.  Jeremiah 29:11.  Psalm 139:16 and Job 14:5 reveal that the Lord has already ordained the days of our lives on earth.  We can come into agreement with God’s sovereignty over our lives and the length of our days which He ordained for us.  We can also disagree with the plans of the enemy to shorten our days or change God’s ordained plans for us.

7)  We can pray God’s will and sovereignty over the nations!  We know that it is the Lord who raises up kings and pulls them down.  The nations are to be Jesus’ inheritance.  Psalm 2:8 “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations as Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as Your possession.”  People of all nations will fill heaven but it is our responsibility to pray for them to hear and know about Jesus.  We can pray for godly leadership over nations.  The Bible says that when the leader, ruler or king is righteous, the people are blessed.  Proverbs 29:2 affirms, “When the [uncom-promisingly] righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh.

The Lord is calling us to become much bolder in our prayers.  He also desires for us to become more focused on His will and purposes for ourselves and others.  We have been given the authority to pray and proclaim that His will in heaven come to pass on earth.  The enemy only has the authority we allow him to have in our lives.  We can eliminate his authority by coming into agreement with the Lord’s sovereignty over our lives, our family, our church and our nation as we walk in righteousness and godliness.

When our heart (soul:  mind, will and emotions) becomes one with His, He will show us His plans and purposes and we will join with him in intercession.  He promised to answer all our prayers that are prayed according to His will and in His name.  By acknowledging His sovereignty over our lives and our world, our prayers will move mountains, transform hearts, fill leaders and change nations.  We will see more of heaven and less of “hell” on the earth when all our prayers are “Sovereign Prayers”!

I AM, Part 5 by Larry W. Peebles

I AM, Part 5   by   Larry W. Peebles   November 3, 2017   17.42

My daughter has become quite successful in the Human Resources profession by being able to efficiently fill open employment positions for her clients.  She is able to quickly look at a resume, and determine if there is a potential fit for the open position.  If there is potential, a telephone interview will then reveal if this candidate should be recommended to the client for the position. If the client accepts her recommendation and conducts a face-to-face interview, a high percentage of her recommendations are ultimately hired for the position.  A big reason for her success is the quality of the initial questions she asks the candidate in the phone interview, along with her ability to listen to the answer and pursue with instinctive and appropriate follow up questions.  Her process is intended to dig into the basic question of who the candidate really is—what are their strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, etc. relative to the requirements for the position.

In this I AM series, we have been looking at the statements Jesus made regarding Himself—who He was/is, and His qualifications.  I can only imagine the look on the HR interviewer’s face if he or she asked Jesus who He was—to tell something about Himself.  The I AM statements we have studied thus far (Parts 1-4) are listed below, and they are not the average interview-type responses:

  1. I AM the bread of life. John 6:35.
  2. I AM the light of the world. John 8:12.
  3. I AM the gate/door. John 10:9.
  4. I AM the good shepherd. John 10:11.
  5. I AM the resurrection and the life. John 11:25-26.
  6. I AM the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6.
  7. I AM the true vine. John 15:1.
  8. I AM the Alpha (Beginning) and the Omega (End). Revelation 1:8 and 1:17-18, Revelation 21:6, and 22:13).
  9. I AM the Root and Offspring of David. Revelation 22:16.
  10. I AM the Bright Morning Star. Revelation 22:16.

These are some very weighty answers, but Jesus in the flesh was also Deity, and He had a big job to do while here on earth.  He came to save the human race from sin’s death and destruction.  This job required some unusual and divine qualifications.  He could not just be a “star,” He was the bright Morning Star.  He would not be a mere “leader”, He was the Way.  He was more than “honest,” He was the Truth.  He was above a “self-starter,” He was the Beginning and the End. He was better than a good “manager”, He was the good shepherd.   His qualifications would leave the interviewer speechless.  In Part 5 of this series, we will study more of these I AM statements.

I AM before Abraham was-

This might sound a bit tricky, but we begin with the background to the statement.  In John Chapter 8, verse 48, the Jews had a dialogue with Jesus to find out more about Him, and they accused Jesus of having a demon (being possessed by a demon).  The conversation became more intense when in verse 51 Jesus said- “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word he shall never see death.”  In verse 52, the Jews pointed out that Abraham was dead, and the prophets were dead (both assumed to be greater than Jesus), and therefore they felt justified in saying that Jesus was demon-possessed because of His statement.  In verse 53 we read- “Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead?  And the prophets are dead.  Who do you make yourself out to be?”  Jesus responded that the Jews did not know Him or His Father (God).  Because the Jews claimed Abraham was their father, Jesus then said in verse 56- “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad.”

This had to really confuse the Jews.  How could Abraham, who was born and died before Jesus, have possibly seen the day of Jesus’ coming on the earth and have been glad for it?  Verse 57 says- “Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”’  Jesus concludes that part of the interview with this statement in verse 58- “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’”  The Jews were so infuriated they were ready to stone Him, but He slipped away through the crowd.

There was no doubt Abraham was the father (ancestor) of these people.  God promised it in Genesis 12: 1-3- “The Lord said to Abram (later Abraham), ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’”  As we discussed in Part 4 (I AM the Root and Offspring of David), Jesus’ human heritage also traced back through David and Abraham, all the way back to Adam.

When did Abraham “see Jesus…and was glad”?  Genesis Chapter 14 tells of Abraham’s encounter with Melchizedek, king (jeru) of Salem (peace), or of Jerusalem (king of peace).  He is also referred to as the “priest of God Most High”.  Abraham honored this king and priest with a tithe from the spoils of battle, the first tithe in Scripture, and Melchizedek blessed him.  In addition to this strong symbolism, Jesus is King and High Priest forever according to Hebrews Chapters 6 and 7, and is from “the order of Melchizedek”.  Hebrews 7:3 says Melchizedek “had neither beginning of days nor end of life, but (was) made like the Son of God.”  It was Melchizedek’s assistance in battle against five other kings that saved Abraham’s life.  Abraham was very glad and grateful to meet this “Jesus”.

Abraham also met Jesus in Genesis Chapter 18.  The Lord came with three angels to prophesy a child for Abraham and Sarah (v. 10), and to warn Abraham of the coming destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 20-23).  In this encounter Abraham bowed to the ground to honor the Lord (v. 2), called Him “Lord” (v. 3), washed His feet (v. 4), served Him bread (v. 6), and shed blood to serve Him meat (v. 7).  The symbolism here is also strong, and again Abraham was glad and grateful to meet the Lord Jesus.  He received the good news that a child would be born, and that his nephew Lot would be spared from the coming destruction.  Jesus was not referring to a figurative meeting with Abraham, He was referring to an actual meeting.

Jesus was not disputing that Abraham was the father of this nation.  He was pointing out that if the Jews knew Abraham as father without knowing Father God, they could not know Jesus, whom the Father sent.  Further, if all their attention, admiration and pride focused on Abraham as being the greatest they would also miss Jesus, who was greater than Abraham.  Jesus declared He was the I AM of Exodus Chapter 3, the eternal and almighty one who revealed himself to Moses.  He was not just present at creation, He was the Creator (Colossians 1:16-17- “by Him all things were created…all things were created by Him and for Him…He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.”)  He created all things, including Adam, and therefore was before Abraham.  Though Abraham was great, Jesus was greater.  The man Jesus standing before the Jews in flesh came after Abraham, but they did not recognize Him as the eternal Son of God who had always been.

 

It is I AM; do not be afraid-

Following the feeding of the five thousand in John Chapter 6, Jesus went onto the mountain to be alone.  After dark, His disciples got into a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee to get to Capernaum.  A great wind came up across the sea.  After rowing over three miles in the rough waves, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, coming toward the boat.  They were afraid.  In verse 20, Jesus said – “It is I (I AM); do not be afraid.” (Amplified version.)  They took Him into the boat, and immediately they were at the land where they were going.  They were through the storm.

I have seen the lion in Africa on several occasions.  This animal is so calm and self-assured.  It is fearless, powerful and composed.  The locals say its paw can break the back of a cape buffalo, and its jaws can crush its prey.  How much more powerful and fearless is the Lion of Judah.  Jesus is saying the “I AM” is with us, we do not need to be afraid.  He will get in the boat with us in the midst of a storm.

Consider Isaiah 43: 1-4- “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.  For I AM the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….you were precious in my sight, you have been honored, and I love you.”’

The Bible is full of examples where God tells us not to be afraid.  Joshua was told this a number of times when the Israelites were ready to move into the Promised Land and conquer the inhabitants.  The women who came to Jesus’ tomb were told not to be afraid.  After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to the disciples and said “Peace be with you.”  There is no need to worry or be afraid.  The Eternal One, the one who conquered death, is on our side.  In the Old Testament, He is the “Commander of the Armies of the Lord” (Joshua 5:13-15).  He is powerful and fearless, yet He is the Prince of Peace.  He goes before us in every storm and battle.  Before he was anointed king, David wrote in Psalm 27:1- “The Lord is my light (I AM the light of the world) and my salvation (I AM the resurrection and the life) -of whom shall I be afraid?”  (Inserts mine).

Isaiah 41:10 says- “Fear not, for I am (I AM) with you: Be not dismayed, for I am (I AM) your God.  I will strengthen you, yes I will help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Inserts mine.)

Both of these I AM statements give us great insight into the omnipotent, eternal, and faithful Son of God who has always been involved in the affairs of mankind.  Taken together with the ten I AM statements from the preceding parts to this series, we see deep into the divine character of Jesus.  He is the literal center of the universe as its Creator, Sustainer, and absolute Focus.  Everything and everyone is by Him and for Him.  Yet with all the vastness of His creation, including the billions of people on this earth, He still comes for the one, you and me.