I AM, Part 3 by Larry W Peebles October 6, 2017 17.38
Before I retired, and while I was still in the workforce, I kept a current resume on myself. If my address, phone number, or place of employment changed, I updated the resume. If I received a promotion or change of title, it was noted in the resume. Any significant life event that should be included in a resume was documented in case I had need to quickly present information on myself to any interested party. I updated the resume more than I needed to, but I was always ready to describe myself and my business credentials.
Jesus did not use a resume to tell the world who he was. His attributes were beyond description in conventional words and terms. Information that might appear on a resume today, such as address, phone number, education, work experience, etc. was just not adequate to describe Jesus. As we discussed in Parts 1 and 2 of this series (see archives July 28-17.28, and August 11-17.30), when Jesus began to tell the world who He is/was, he used a number of powerful statements that began with the phrase “I AM”. Seven of these statements are contained in the Book of John, and were covered previously:
- I AM the bread of life. John 6:35.
- I AM the light of the world. John 8:12.
- I AM the gate/door. John 10:9.
- I AM the good shepherd. John 10:11.
- I AM the resurrection and the life. John 11:25-26.
- I AM the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6.
- I AM the true vine. John 15:1.
John, the disciple and apostle, was very clear (John 20:31) that his purpose in writing the Book of John was “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John used Jesus’ own “I AM” statements to tell us who Jesus is/was. It comes as no surprise that other writings of John also contain the “I AM” statement. The Book of Revelation was written by John while he was in exile on the island of Patmos. At that time, Rome was becoming more of an emperor worship cult, and was growing increasingly less tolerant of the Christian worship of Jesus as Lord. John was imprisoned on Patmos for his Christian missionary work. While on the island, he received a series of visions and prophetic words (revelations) from Jesus, which he recorded.
Four times in the Book of Revelation, John quoted Jesus as saying “I AM the Alpha and the Omega”. These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
- Revelation 1:8- “I AM the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the almighty.” This speaks to the eternal deity and power of Jesus. He always was, is and will be. He was not just present at creation, He is the Creator. It was His Word and His power that created everything we see and understand as creation. Colossians 1:16 says- “Everything was created through Him and for Him.” It all began with Him, it all points to Him, and it will all end with Him. He has the final say, and He already knows the ending.
- Revelation 1: 17-18- “Do not be afraid. I AM the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Jesus died for our sins, and rose from the dead. All life emanates from Him. He is the source of all life. He is not only the author of all life, He has the authority over death. He raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11, and then announced “I AM the resurrection and the life.” When He was raised from the dead, He took the keys to hell away from the devil. We do not ever need to be afraid of death. If we believe in Jesus, death is merely a graduation from this natural existence into our eternal existence with Him.
- Revelation 21:6- “I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.” This is a promise of the free gift of His Holy Spirit, the One who teaches and comforts us, and gives us power to overcome this world. Jesus made this clear in John 7:39, which says “by this (living water or water of life) he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.” When He says He will never leave nor forsake us, He guarantees that with the indwelling of His Spirit.
- Revelation 22:13- “I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” This is similar to the three described above. To use a contemporary phrase, the “circle of life” is Jesus. He is life, who like a circle, is without beginning or end. Each person born has always existed in the mind and plan of God, and once born is already on a path of eternal existence, even as a spirit being after their life on earth is done. The only question that remains is where they will spend that eternal existence—in heaven or in hell.
The prophet Isaiah adds meaning to this discussion with these scriptures written approximately 800 years before the Book of Revelation:
- Isaiah 44:6- “This is what the Lord says-Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I AM the first and I AM the last; apart from me there is no God.”
- Isaiah 48:12-13- “Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I AM He; I AM the first and I AM the last. My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.”
Consider a contemporary term– the “it” factor. One either has the desired persona “it factor” or they do not. “It” may be hard to describe, but one “in the know” will recognize “it” when they see “it”. “It” is cool, very desirable, and having “it” makes everyone else envious. Some would say “it” is wit, charm, intellect or suave. I can say without reservation Jesus is “it”. He is or should be the ultimate object of our desire, the highest we can achieve. He is the factor we cannot do without. His value does not diminish or become worn. He is the one we want to be like—not someone from Hollywood, politics or sports.
Everything true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8) is embodied in Jesus. Believing in Jesus, following Jesus, and striving to become like Jesus is a serious matter. It has eternal consequences, but it also has eternal rewards. He is the beginning, and He is the end. He is the finishing touch, and an eternity spent with Him should be the medal and ribbon for successfully crossing the finish line of this life.