I am…

I am...

“So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ They answered him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am he.’ Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.” –John 18:4-6

When I’ve watched “The Jesus Movie” cartoon with my kids, at this point in the story, the earth shakes and Jesus final two words “I AM” rumble with power, sending all those coming against him to their knees in awe. Doubtful it happened like that, but its a powerful illustration of the spiritual reality of the scene. “The ‘he’ is not expressed in the Greek: and ‘I am’ to Jewish ears was the name of Jehovah,” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges).

When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, and Moses asked for His name, God answered, “I AM that I AM. You must say this to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you,” (Exo 3:14). And so Jesus, the Word of God manifest in the flesh (John 1:1,14), rightly identifies Himself many times in the Gospel as “I AM.”

In the midst of a night storm, Jesus appears to His disciples who are in a boat. “Do not be afraid. I AM,” (John 6:20).

Jesus said to the people, “For unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins,” (John 8:24).

He then tells them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM,” (John 8:28).

After washing His disciples feet, Jesus tells them, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, for that is what I AM,” (John 13:13).

We say we believe Jesus is the Son of God, but do we feel the weight of that? Do we understand the significance? Would we not ever fear if we knew that I AM was with us as He promised (Mat 28:20)? Would we not be alive with joy (1Co 15:22; Eph 2:5; Psa 30:11), seeing that the God of the universe (Gen 1:1; Col 1:16) has set our transgressions on Himself (Psa 65:3; Isa 53:5) and forgiven us a monstrous debt (Mat 18:23-27; Luk 7:42-43)? Would we not follow our masters lead and teachings in full obedience (John 14:15)? For He is great, and mighty to save (Zep 3:17)!

Dear Lord, let me see Your glory (Exo 33:18), so that I too can be humbled before Your mighty name. For I know You are a compassionate and graciously loving God (Psa 86:15) who exalts the humble (Jam 4:10; 1Pe 5:6). Give me the faith to step into the darkness of Your mystery (Exo 20:20-21) and go wherever You lead so as to be closer to Your mighty presence.

Billy Neal

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Welcome Guest

sent out

Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. — Matthew 10:11-12.

Men, Jesus is still instructing the 12 before sending them out on what equates to a religious survey and a training mission in one. Jesus tells the 12 to seek out “worthy” households to stay with as they arrive at a new town. Jesus knew that there was a lot on the line. Misinformation spreads faster than truth, so Jesus wanted the 12 to stay with people who had honest reputation.

This time and place setting was known for hospitality, and it was common for indigenous townspeople to open their homes to travelers. The 12 would be dependent upon being welcomed.

Jesus goes further in v12 to tell the 12 to “greet” a household when they found a place “worthy”. In other words, Jesus is telling the 12 to be good guests. The 12 would also speak a blessing over the home as they entered.

We can almost imagine in our time a bed and breakfast type atmosphere where we paid for our accommodations with a presentation of the gospel. We like to think of ourselves as good followers of Christ. We like to think we’re doing well as Christians as we attend church, say grace over our meal, and pray occasionally.

Do we know Jesus well enough, or His gospel well enough to present a clear message worthy of a night’s rent? Have we ever challenged ourselves to the 12s entry level training mission?

Of course, today in America is far less hospitable. We are distrusting and protective of our homes and families. Have you ever cooperated in a Bible study among strangers? Have you ever cooperated in a local missions opportunity? Have you ever challenged yourself to present a gospel message even in part to a stranger? Would we make a good guest? Would a host wish they hadn’t opened the door, or accepted our name on a sign up sheet?

Move forward men, finding worthy opportunities to share the message of hope and redemption to some one. Be a good guest, presenting the message with humility. Serve well from within any opportunity the Lord offers and pronounce a blessing over that place.

Vance Durrance

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