I Am

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Passages: 1 Chronicles 22-24; John 8:28-59

28 So Jesus said to them, “When the Human One is lifted up, then you will know that I Am. Then you will know that I do nothing on my own, but I say just what the Father has taught me. 29 He who sent me is with me. He doesn’t leave me by myself, because I always do what makes him happy.” 30 While Jesus was saying these things, many people came to believe in him. (John 8:28-59, Common English Bible).

Have you ever wondered how times a certain word or phrase is in the Bible? It wasn’t too long ago you could find out how many times a single word was in the Bible by looking at a concordance. For example, the word money is in the Bible 169 times. That doesn’t count the times other words are used like say, denarius.

The word love is in the Bible 792 times. If you wanted to know, you broke out your trusty old concordance and look your word up and get your answer. There are four words in Greek we translate to love. It doesn’t break that down for us.

But, if you wanted to know how many times love and money were in the Bible? the only way to know was to sit and count it by hand. Today, not only is it easier with a computer, it is faster than you could look in a concordance and get the answer for one word. Oh, by the way, love and money are in the same verse in the Bile eight times.

What got me started to think about all this was our passage above. “…When the Human One is lifted up, then you will know that I Am..” You will know that I Am.” Those two little words, three letters, four characters if you count the space, say a great deal.

When I saw “I Am,” my first thought went back to God and Moses having a conversation. Really it was more God giving Moses instructions and Moses giving God excuses as to why Moses couldn’t carry out God’s instructions. Specifically, God had told Moses to go and gain the freedom of the Israelites slaves in Egypt. Moses asks God, “What if they ask your name.” God simply replied, “I Am who I Am.” And yes, that would count twice when the computer counted it.

God had to get the divine role into the thick-headed Israelites (our heads are just about as thick) as God was pulling them out of Egypt. In the first five books of the Bible alone, you can find “I Am” 151 times. Many of the times “I Am” is there it would be followed by “the Lord your God.” Yes, as in, “I Am the Lord your God.”

The computer doesn’t tell me how many times both words are capitalized. That would probably make it even more clear how many times we see this name for God. But, we know the occasion that is our lesson today is one of those times. There should be no doubt, Jesus is alluding to “I Am” as a name for God. “When the Human One is lifted up, then you will know that I Am.” It doesn’t say, “…then you will know that I am the Son of God.” It doesn’t say, “…then you will know that I am your friend.” It doesn’t say, “…then you will know that I am a duck.” It simply says, “…then you will know that I Am.” in other words, “…then you will know that I am God.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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