Bible Readings and Devotion for March 27, 2020
You are encouraged to read these passages from this page or from your personal Bible. After the readings is a devotion based on one or more of the readings.
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or an online Bible – click passage listing for link to online:
Devotion for March 27, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
In the late 1980s I was a student at the University of Texas – Austin. I lived in a dorm for part of my years at the college. On my wall was a poster – see photo above – which shared various names of God the Son, Jesus Christ, as noted in the Holy Bible. It was a daily reminder in my dorm room of the wonderful and glorious God who has been revealed to us in Jesus and his Holy Word.
The centerpiece of this is the name of Jesus which is used prominently in the Gospel of John. This name is the self-identifying statement, “I am,” which Jesus notes several times. There are seven major statements, as well as a number of additional uses of this holy name in John’s Gospel. The seven major ones are referred to as, “The Seven “I Am” Sayings of Jesus.”
Here are the Seven “I Am” Sayings of Jesus in John’s Gospel
1. “I am the bread of life” – John 6:35, 41
2. “I am the light of the world” – John 8:12, 9:5
3. “I am the door of the sheep” – John 10:7-9
4. “I am the good shepherd” – John 10:11, 14
5. “I am the resurrection and the life” – John 11:25
6. “I am the way, the truth and the life” – John 14:6
7. “I am the true vine” – John 15:1, 5
Our reading from John chapter 6 for today is one of the secondary statements. Here is what Jesus says in verse 58: “Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”” Although not as boldly noted, this statement in John is none the less dramatic.
The dramatic reality of this is that Jesus is saying that he is the same God as the one revealed to Moses at the Burning Bush, in Exodus 3:13-14. This holy name, this Divine Name, is unique and meaningful. This name is summarized as “I Am”. Other translations include: “I am who I am”, “I am becoming who I am becoming,” “I will be who I will be,” “I exist”.
An important message of this name, among many, is that God always is. God is forever and is beyond the bounds of time. God is with us at all times and places. So, when he says in John 8:58, “…before Abraham was, I am,” he is telling the hearers of his day and today that he is God, and that he has always been. As Christians we understand that Jesus Christ is God the Son, fully God and fully human. Jesus is God the Son, the Eternal Word of God who has taken on human flesh and form and lived among us. Jesus is the Emmanuel, God with us. The list could go on. When Jesus made those “I Am” statements, he was reaffirming and teach the truth of his full identity for us.
The antagonistic Jewish leaders with whom he was speaking knew what he was saying. They didn’t agree with him, for they saw this as anti-God. That is why they have the reaction noted in verse 59: “So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.” As God the Son, he was in control, and had the power and know-how to control the situation and to get away unharmed. It was not until the God planned time of his crucifixion that he would be arrested and killed.
As with all naming of God, we do not assert any name for God. Rather, God reveals his names to us. At least part of the reason for this is that God is God and we are not. In other words, we are not in charge of God. We respect God. We honor God. We worship God. We serve God. We submit to his rule and reign and Lordship of our lives. We receive life, hope, salvation, forgiveness, and purpose from God. We are part of God’s creation. In all this, we are not to rule over God. We don’t name God, for we have no authority over God. All faithful and appropriate names for God are revealed to us in his Word.
I invite you to take time to read the “I Am” scriptures noted above. Prayerfully ponder what these mean for our lives of faith as we follow Jesus throughout our time in this world.
Eternal God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: we honor your name and give you glory. Help us to grow in our faith and understanding of how you have been revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures. Comfort us with your presence in our lives today and forever more. We pray this in your most holy name.
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