He Is

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The stories found in the Gospel accounts make a kaleidoscope of claims about Jesus. Whether listening to a parable or a dialog between Jesus and others, the hearer is given a new perspective for understanding who He is. But in the most profound cases, Jesus asserts things about Himself. In John 8, there is an extended conversation between Jesus and His Jewish critics. You can feel the tension rising like a tide, and at its culmination, Jesus made a simple statement: “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” Why did people pick up rocks to stone Him? Pick up your Old Testament, shuffle to the beginning pages of Exodus, and hear the words from the burning bush. Yahweh, the personal God of the Israelites, the God who brought them out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, He was the only “I am.” Though the cosmic blasphemy of Jesus’ words would bring His death, they simultaneously give us life. At the heart of this series is the idea that Jesus made concrete, undeniable claims about His own identity. The hearer of these claims is forced to reckon with them. And like the first century audience grappling with Jesus’ words, we also are forced to reckon with them and with Him. If He is who He says He is, we must consider what these claims mean to us. So, from these accounts we can say, Jesus Christ is Beautiful. He is Savior. He is Redeemer. He is God. But, in light of who He is, we can now answer the question “who are we to be?”

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