The I Am’s of Christ

by Rick

I Am the Bread of Life
I Am the Light of the World
I Am the Door
I Am the Good Shepherd
I Am the Resurrection and the Life
I Am the Way
I am the Vine

I Am the Bread of Life

(John 6:35 NIV) Jesus replied: “I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty.”

Christmas is just around the corner and we know that you cannot have Christmas without Christ.  As we lead up to Christmas Day, we will recap the “I Am” sayings of Christ in the gospel of John.  The better we understand who Jesus said He was, the better we can understand who He is in our lives today.  The first “I Am” Jesus said was “I Am that Bread of Life!

In John 6 Jesus fed 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch, went up into a mountainside to pray, met his disciples in the middle of a storm by walking on water and then completed the journey to the other side of the lake with them.  The multitude that received from the miracle of the fish and loaves were looking for Jesus.  When they found Him on the other side of the lake, they asked Him how He got there.  Jesus did not address their question but rather pointed to the real reason they were there  —  they were looking for food and miracles.  Jesus told them that their motives were focused on the temporal and should be on the eternal.  He told them about the Manna from heaven that God provided their forefathers in the wilderness.  This Manna was good, but only for one day.  He explained that the Father would give obedient believers true bread from heaven that was not temporal.  They liked this idea and asked for some of ‘that’ bread.  This is where Jesus said, “I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty.”

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Jesus wants you to want Him and not His ‘stuff’ (fish and loaves).

2.       We often times forfeit the eternal blessings for the temporary satisfaction (Manna).

3.       When you ask God the right question you will receive the right answer (give me some of ‘that’ bread).

4.       Jesus is God’s answer to man’s death (The Bread of Life).

5.       Jesus is God’s answer to man’s hunger (will never be hungry).

6.       Jesus is God’s answer to man’s thirst (will never be thirsty).

Jesus is the Grand Sum Total of every equation and the answer to all of life’s questions.  Are you hungry and thirsty this morning?  Are you tired of the temporary fixes that this world can offer?  Take a moment to eat of the Bread of Life and your life will never be the same!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I Am the Light of the World (top of page)

(John 8:12 CEV) Once again Jesus spoke to the people. This time he said, “I am the light for the world!  Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark.  You will have the light that gives life.”

This morning we investigate Jesus’ second “I Am” saying.  Jesus was in the Jerusalem for the feast of the Tabernacles in the Women’s Court.  There were two huge candelabras in this court.  The candelabras were a reminder of the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that God used to guide the nation of Israel through the wilderness.  They were normally lit after the evening sacrifice and the light is said to have traveled throughout the entire city.  Many people danced and rejoiced around the lights.  It is in this setting that Jesus says, “I am the light for the world!  Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark.  You will have the light that gives life.”

Let’s further investigate the text:

1.       Jesus’ Proclamation:  “I am the light for the world!”  In the pre-electricity world Jesus lived in, I can imagine Him standing in the midst of these two colossal golden lamp stands and watching as the people enjoyed the light.  Like yesterday’s bread, the light they enjoyed was temporal and finite.  Their light might have lit up the entire city, but His light would light up the entire world.

2.       Our Prerequisite:  Follow me.”  This has always been God’s requirement.  Yes, we live in a dark, dying and decaying world; but God does not want us resign ourselves to its fate.  He wants us to follow Him and exhibit His light in the midst of darkness.  Why?  Two reasons:

a. Individual Salvation:  So that we could have a relationship with God and have the knowledge and power to keep us from walking in ignorance.

b. Corporate Witness:  So that we could shine His light in the midst of a darkness and lead the lost to the only Savior — Jesus the Christ!

3.       The Promise:  “You will have the light that gives life.”  Not only does God want us to go to heaven, but He wants us to enjoy the ride!  He came that we might have life, but also have it ‘More Abundantly!’  If we follow Him, we will enjoy that life!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that this world is dark and destined for destruction, but God gave us an answer to man’s darkness in Jesus.  We can walk with Him and allow His light to permeate through us in the midst of darkness.  What do we get in return?  The Joy of the Lord!

Are you ready to shine this morning?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I Am the Door (top of page)

(John 10:7 KJV) Then said Jesus unto them again, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.”

This morning we investigate Jesus’ third “I Am” saying.  In John 10 Jesus paints a picture of His relationship with the people of God as one of Shepherd and sheep.  He likens the sheep to being in the sheep’s pen and the Shepherd to being the only one with the legal right to enter through the gate of the pen.  The watchman would open the gate for the shepherd and him alone and the sheep listen to no other voice.  This shepherd would lead his sheep in the way they should go and they would willfully follow him.  His audience did not understand what Jesus meant by all of this.  Jesus tried to make it plain to them and said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” He claimed that all other ways to God (doors) were false and would end in death.  Jesus is the door to eternal life.  The Old Testament priests provided access to a distant and disconnected God through ritual and ceremony.  This New Testament door would transcend the ritual and provide intimate access to a loving and caring heavenly Father.

Let’s further investigate this illustration of the Shepherd and the Sheep:

1.  Sheep are dumb animals:  God made a perfect illustration when He likened us to sheep.  Sheep have a terrible sense of direction.  Sheep keep their faces down while they are eating and they focus on the grass and their immediate pleasure more than where they are going and their ultimate destination.  We are just like sheep.  We can easily get caught up in what we are doing and our immediate pleasure that we lose focus of God’s big picture (destiny) for our lives.  But we can also find hope in the illustration of the sheep.  The sheep really don’t need to know where they are going, just as long as they know WHO they are following.  Likewise, even when we are nibbling on our daily grass (email, projects, children, finances, marriage, etc.) and seemingly stray East and West, we would do well in hearing the voice of the Shepherd (prayer), making a course correction (change) and following Him!

2.  The Shepherd loves the sheep:  By being the “Door,” Jesus can permit or deny access to the pen.  While the sheep are in the pen they have protection from the wolves, lions, and bears.  If a sheep ever gets out of the pen and wanders away, they Shepherd would leave the 99 in search of the 1.  God loves us so much that He wants to shower us with His protection and peace.  He wants us to stay in the center of His will.  If ever we stray, however, He will search us out and make every attempt to lead us home to the pen, through the door!

So what does this mean to you today? Jesus is God’s answer to man’s misdirection.  Have you gone astray?  Are you in need of the protection and the peace of the sheep’s pen?  Then the answer is simple.  You can only get back in the pen, through the door  —  Jesus the Christ!  Pray to the Father in the name of Jesus and He will allow you access back in the pen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I Am the Good Shepherd (top of page)

(John 10:14 CEV)  “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and they know me.”

This morning we investigate Jesus’ fourth “I Am” saying.  While painting the picture of His relationship with the people of God as one of Shepherd and sheep, Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherd gives up his life for his sheep.”  He went on to talk about the difference between hired workers and the shepherds.  He said that hired workers don’t really know the sheep.  When they see a wolf coming, they run off and leave them behind.  They have no real vested interest in the sheep and don’t really care about them.  This is where we pick up our text and Jesus says, I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and they know me.”

I grew up in East New York, Brooklyn.  In the 1970s and 1980s, my neighborhood was one of the worst in the country.  Crime, violence, drugs, alcohol, etc. were the norm.  The streets were a mess.  Back then we had glass bottles and not today’s plastic ones.  The average person would drink a soda and just throw the bottle down on the sidewalk as they walked by.  Many of the building were abandoned and torn down.  They place looked like a war zone.  Towards the late 1980s and into the 1990s, the city government devised a strategy to clean up New York.  They realized that people did not care about their neighborhoods and buildings because they did not own them.  They started tearing down the large tenant buildings and building smaller, single family dwellings.  They then helped low-income families purchase these homes.  What happened was remarkable.  Once people owned their own home, they took a vested interest in the community.  They started driving drug dealers away and cleaning up the streets.  They no longer freely smashed bottles on the ground, but rather looked for a trash can.  Why the drastic change?  Ownership!

In this fourth “I Am,” Jesus likens Himself to the Good Shepherd.  He tells us about a Good Shepherd who owns the sheep, takes responsibility for them, and knows them intimately.  He loves us, cares for us, and wants nothing less than the best for us.  He will keep us form the wolves and protect us from all harm.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that if you are tired of dealing with hired workers and putting your life in the hands of everyone but God (the adversary, your spouse, finances, family, etc.) this message is for you.  God does not want you to depend on people who, like hired workers, will run away when the going gets rough.  He wants you to depend on Him, who will hang in there, no matter the situation.

Are you ready to put your life in the hands of the Good Shepherd?  He will never leave you nor forsake you!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I Am the Resurrection and the Life (top of page)

(John 11:25 KJV)  Jesus said unto her, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

Christmas Day is right around the corner.  We have been investigating the “I Am” sayings of Christ in an attempt to know Him better.  This morning we investigate Jesus’ fifth “I Am” saying.   John’s 11th chapter opens with mention of a man named Lazarus (the brother of Mary and Martha) being sick.  Jesus loved this family and stayed with them whenever He was in Bethany or the surrounding area.  The sisters sent word to Jesus that their brother was sick.  By the time Jesus got there Lazarus had been dead for four days and his body was deteriorating.  Mary and Martha were crushed that Jesus had permitted this to happen.  Martha met Jesus and vented her frustrations to Him.  Jesus attempted to console her by telling her that her brother would live again.  She misunderstood His statement and thought that He meant this Lazarus would be raised in the last day with all the other dead.  Jesus knew she misunderstood.  Jesus told her that He was the Resurrection and the Life, not that He was simply a means by which to attain it, but rather that the embodiment of eternal life was standing before her.  Jesus went on to manifest that reality by raising Lazarus from the dead to life.

In a couple of days we will celebrate the birth of our Savior.  He was born, however, to die.  He came with a purpose  —  to conquer death and take away it’s sting.  He lived a sinless life, suffered, bled, and died; but the story does not end there.  God raised Jesus from the dead on with all power in His hand.  He conquered death so we could do the same.  In our text, Jesus told Martha that He was the resurrection and the life.  Yes, he would raise Lazarus from the dead and a manifestation of that power, but the greatest news of the gospel was that He Himself manifested that reality.  Lazarus was raised, but then died again.  Jesus was raised and would never again see death.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that as we prepare to open gifts under the tree, sing Christmas carols, drink egg nog, and etc.; remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.  He was born in a manger, yes, but Christmas simply points to Easter.  He was born to die, but also (and more importantly) to be resurrected from the dead.  He is the Resurrection and the Life and he came that we might enjoy that Life and have it More Abundantly!

Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?  If so, then you should enjoy your new (resurrected) life in Christ.  As you celebrate Christmas remember that His birth led to His death and His death led to His resurrection!  That’s the Good News of the Gospel!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I Am the Way (top of page)

(John 14:6 NIV)  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

I pray that you had a Joyous and Peaceful CHRISTmas Day.  We have been investigating the “I Am” sayings of Christ in an attempt to know Him better.  This morning we investigate Jesus’ sixth “I Am” saying.   In John 14 Jesus knew that His time with his disciples was almost up.  He knew that His impending death on the cross was right around the corner.  He knows that these guys left everything they had to follow Him.  He knows that He was been their source of direction, protection and inspiration for the last three years.  How are they going to take His departure?  He attempts to encourage them by telling them of where He is going.  He tells them of the Father’s many mansions and how He is going to prepare a place for them so they could be reunited later on.  He paints a beautiful picture and then tells them that they know where He is going, but Thomas claims that He does not know where and does not know the way.  This is where Jesus told them that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life.  The Old Testament pointed towards a Messiah that would come and save God’s people and provide a way to His presence.  Jesus did not claim to be “a” way, but rather the Messiah Himself who was “the” way.

So what does this mean to you today? A Few things:

1.  Encouragement to those who have Jesus:  If you have repented of your sin and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, then you know ‘the’ way to get to where He is, because you know HIM.  When you have Him, you have direction (way), inspiration (truth) and vigor (life).  You can face any obstacle and overcome any hurdle.  You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!  No matter what comes your way today, you can handle it because you know the WAY!  That is Good News!

2.  Conviction to those who do not have Jesus:  This also indicates that if you do not have Jesus you do not know ‘the’ way.  The Good News of the gospel is that you can.  You do not have to live another day without Him.  You can enter into this New Year with a New Life and heading down a New Path.  There is a better way and that way is in Jesus.  Repent and Receive Him today!

3.  Clarification for all:  Like it or not, this text does not leave any room for other ways, roads, or paths.  Either you believe the bible or you don’t.  Jesus is the way.  Mohammed, Buddha, Hinduism, Taoism, and others are not the way.  If you are on these roads, God has shown you the true path in Jesus.  The choice is yours.

Enjoy direction (way), inspiration (truth) and vigor (life) in Jesus today!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

I am the Vine (top of page)

(John 15:1 NIV)  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardner.”

We have been investigating the “I Am” sayings of Christ in an attempt to know Him better prior to entering into this New Year.  This morning we investigate Jesus’ seventh and final “I Am” saying.  This time He paints of picture of a vineyard where He is the vine and we are the branches.  The disciples were very familiar with the grape vine.  They could immediately picture it in their minds.  They could see the luscious and full grapes hanging from its branches.  They could imagine a long and full vine that seemingly went on forever.  Jesus then likened Himself to that vine, but with one disclaimer, “I am the true vine.” This was another statement directed towards His deity.  The disciples still did not really understand who Jesus was.  Jesus was not “a” vine, but rather “the” true vine.  Just like Jesus was not “a” way, but rather “the” way, nor “a” door to eternal life, but rather “the” door.  A vine is the source of life and nourishment to the branches.  A vine is the vehicle by which the branches grow and bring forth fruit. The vine represents the branches’ only chance at survival.  Without the vine, the branches shrivel up and die.  Jesus is the True Vine.

Have you ever bought a full, juicy and delicious cluster of grapes?  Imagine a huge cluster that is seemingly busting out of the plastic bag.  You get home and put them into the refrigerator and somehow forget about them.  A couple of weeks later you realize that the grapes are still in the fridge.  You look at them, but they do not look as appealing as they once did.  They do not make your mouth water any more.  They are drying and shriveling.  This is what happens to grapes when they are disconnected from the vine, because they are no longer connected to their source.  This is the modern version of the picture of the vine.  Jesus claimed to be Judah’s vine (Gen 49:11) that would cleanse and provide eternal life; and His Father, He says, is the Gardner.  He is the one who wakes up in the morning with the vineyard on his mind.  He is the one who goes out to tend to the branches; pruning, cutting, and snipping away the things that will hinder the growth and the production of fruit.  The Father, yes, is the Gardner.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things as we prepare for a New Year:

1.  Being connected to Jesus is our only chance at living God’s life and brining forth fruit in the earth.
2.  Apart from the Vine (Jesus) we can do nothing.
3.  Life on the vine is not free of cutting, snipping, and pruning.
4.  The often times painful process of being cut, is part of God’s plan for prosperous life and abundant fruit.
5.  Life on the vine requires fruit bearing.  He cuts off unproductive and stagnant branches.
6.  It is God’s will that we progress from no fruit, to fruit, to much fruit in 2004!

The better you know God, the more you will rely on Him and enjoy His fellowship and His love.  I pray that the “I Am” series has helped you in your journey towards fruit bearing.  Stay Connected to the Vine and enjoy what God has in Store for 2004!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!