Jesus Christ Is Bigger than Time!
Series: The Great I Am
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church -- Feb. 2, 2014
*Today we continue focusing on the Lord's "I AM" statements from the Gospel of John. This name of God goes all the way back to Exodus 3 where the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush. There the Lord first revealed Himself as the great "I AM".
*In Exodus 3 Moses asked God,
13. . . "When I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?"
14. And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
*In Hebrew this name I AM was Jehovah or Yahweh. John Phillips tells us:
-"It is worth remembering that 'I AM' was the greatest name for God known to the Jews, and it was treated with the utmost reverence by them. This name for God was considered to be so holy that the Jews would not speak it. It is said that when a scribe was copying the Scriptures and came to this name for God, he would take a new pen just to write that name." (1)
*Yet Jesus boldly claimed to be the great I AM. So far we have heard Him say, "I AM the Bread of Life," and "I AM the Light of the world."
*Today we will go back to John 8 to look at another "I AM" statement from the Lord. It's John 8:58 where Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." This statement came in the same discussion where Jesus said, "I AM the Light of the world."
*Here Jesus made crucial statements about His identity, about His unique relationship with the Father, and about our total dependence on Him for salvation. For example, look at vs. 23-24, where Jesus said:
23. "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
24. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.''
*Now vs. 28&29:
28. Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man (i.e. when you have lifted up Jesus on the cross), then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.
29. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.''
*And vs. 31-32:
31. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.''
*With this background in mind, let's read vs. 46-58.
*Have you ever wished you could turn back time? Jesus can!
-In 2 Kings 20:8-11, when the Lord healed Hezekiah, the New Living Translation says:
8. Meanwhile, Hezekiah had said to Isaiah, "What sign will the Lord give to prove that he will heal me and that I will go to the Temple of the Lord three days from now?"
9. Isaiah replied, "This is the sign that the Lord will give you to prove he will do as he promised. Would you like the shadow on the sundial to go forward ten steps or backward ten steps?"
10. "The shadow always moves forward," Hezekiah replied. "Make it go backward instead."
11. So Isaiah asked the Lord to do this, and he caused the shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial of Ahaz!
*Have you ever wished you could make time stand still? Jesus can!
-In Joshua 10:12-14:
12. On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said, "Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Ajalon."
13. So the sun and moon stood still until the Israelites had defeated their enemies. Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jasher? The sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day.
14. The Lord fought for Israel that day. Never before or since has there been a day like that one, when the Lord answered such a request from a human being.
*John 6 tells the story of Jesus walking on the water, but there was another miracle not found in the other Gospels:
21. Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
*All of these Scriptures remind us that Jesus Christ is bigger than time! That's why in John 8:58, Jesus could tell those unbelieving Jews, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.''
*"Before Abraham was, I AM." In other words: "I am the timeless one." Jesus is bigger than time! But the one who is bigger than time stepped into time. The timeless one stepped into time, when He became a man and was born on the first Christmas Day.
*Jesus stepped into time so that we could know that He is the great "I AM," and that He is bigger than time. But that's not all.
1. The one who is bigger than time also wants us to know His holiness.
*How horrible the universe would be if the Lord who has infinite power wasn't infinitely good! We could only count on the most miserable existence. But thank God: Jesus is infinitely good! That's why in vs. 46, the Lord could ask these questions to the unbelieving Pharisees: "Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?"
*John Phillips explained that Jesus "challenged them to point the finger at a single sin in His life. He dared them to take the entire Mosaic Law in all its 613 commandments and test His life by its letter and spirit. He challenged them to take the prophets and writings as well, the whole Old Testament, and to lay that infallible plumb line alongside His life to see if they could detect the slightest deviation from the upright and the true.
*He challenged them to go to His home, to cross-examine those who had lived with Him: His mother, His brothers and His sisters to see if He had ever been anything less than perfect. . . Had He ever done anything He ought not to have done? Had He ever failed to do something He ought to have done? Had He ever behaved lustfully or spoken covetously? Could they find any sin in His public or private life?" (2)
*Of course, the answer is NO! Jesus Christ, the great "I AM" is also the spotless, sinless Lamb of God who came to die for our sins. So the one who is bigger than time wants us to know His holiness.
2. Jesus also wants us to know His hope.
*The only real hope for the world is Jesus Christ. God's Word reminds us of this truth in vs. 47-51. There Jesus said:
47. "He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.''
48. Then the Jews answered and said to Him, "Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?''
49. Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.
50. And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges.
51. Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.''
*What hope! -- The hope of everlasting life! The only real hope of the world is Jesus Christ! If anyone keeps His word they shall never see death.
*John Gill tells us this means if a man "receives the Gospel of God's love, cordially embraces it, firmly believes it, retains it and holds it fast, he shall never see death; the second death, eternal death, which is an everlasting separation of a man, body and soul, from God. . ." (3)
*In Titus 3:3-7, Paul talked about this hope that belongs to all Christians, and there Paul said:
3. we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
4. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
5. not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
6. whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7. that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
*Believers see death in a whole new light of hope. We can truly say, "Oh death, where is thy sting?", because we know as believers that when we are absent from the body we will be present with the Lord!
*The great preacher D.L. Moody once put it this way: "Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don't you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all-out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal; a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body fashioned like unto his glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever." (4)
*That is the hope we all have, if we have put our trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The one who is bigger than time wants us to know His hope.
3. Jesus also wants us to know His humility.
*Most all of us have a problem with pride from time to time, but God has little ways of helping us with that. When I was on the way to Georgia, I stopped at a Cracker Barrel to use the restroom, and get some candy to help me stay awake. I noticed somebody had dropped a bunch of paper towels on the floor, but I didn't pay too much attention.
*Then as I walked around trying to pick out some candy, I noticed a couple of people smiling at me. But I just thought they were being friendly, -- until I got in the parking lot, and I heard this scraping sound every time I took a step. Yeah, I had a paper towel stuck to my foot.
*God definitely has ways of keeping us humble. Unfortunately, we still give in to pride, but Jesus never did. We see His humility in vs. 49-50, when the Lord answered the charge of being demon possessed. Can you imagine a greater insult to the Lord God Almighty? But Jesus simply replied:
49. . . "I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.
50. And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges."
*Then in vs. 51, the Lord simply told the truth about everlasting life: "Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.''
*And in vs. 52-53:
52. Then the Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, 'If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.'
53. Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom do You make Yourself out to be?''
*Again in vs. 54, Jesus answered with pure humility: "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God."
*Thank God for the humility of Jesus Christ! Thank God because Jesus even humbled Himself to the point of death, and He did it for our sakes. As Paul said in Philippians 2:6-8:
6. (Jesus), being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7. but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
*Jesus Christ humbled Himself to even suffer and die on the cross for us. No one has ever suffered like Jesus suffered for our sins.
*Tim Zingale once explained: "The cross was real, the pain, the suffering, the agony was real, so real that the earth shook and trembled from the dread and awe of the event. Jesus died upon that cross. He suffered, He bore pain, He felt the sting of death. He felt the wrath of God . . .
*Jesus was not crucified on a cross in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves on the town garbage heap. . . He was crucified at the kind of place were thieves curse, and soldiers gamble. Jesus died in a most worldly way, a most inglorious way at the hands of the Romans, who mostly felt nothing for Him, no remorse, no pity, no compassion." (5)
*Jesus Christ humbled Himself to even suffer and die on the cross for us. And He wants to know His humility.
4. Jesus also wants us to know His honesty.
*Speaking of His Heavenly Father in vs. 54-55, Jesus said:
54. "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God.
55. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, 'I do not know Him,' I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word."
*Thank God Jesus is 100% honest 100% of the time! We can always count on His Word! One of the first intentional sins we tend to see in our children is lying. We don't have to teach them to lie. They get that on their own.
*Several years ago, Reader's Digest told about a mom named Kelly and her 5-year-old boy, Ryan. One day Ryan told his mother a little fib for what she believed was the first time.
Kelly thought this would be a good opportunity to teach him a lesson about honesty. So she decided to tell Ryan about the little boy who cried wolf. You know the story, the first two times the shepherd boy was pretending just for fun. But the third time, when the wolf really came, -- nobody paid attention, and the little boy's sheep paid the price.
*Kelly's little boy really listened to the story, and even asked to hear it several times. After summarizing it one more time, Mom asked her son if had learned anything. Ryan said, "Yes. -- You can only tell a lie twice." (6)
*Lot's of adults have problems with honesty too, but Jesus never did. In fact, the Bible tells us that God cannot lie. When Paul opened his letter to Titus, the Apostle said he was "in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began" (Titus 1:2). And in John 14:6, Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
*The one who is bigger than time wants us to know His honesty.
5. Jesus also wants us to know His happiness.
*In vs. 56, Jesus tells us a little about the joy of the Lord in Abraham's life. Jesus told the Jews, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." The word picture there is that Abraham jumped for joy! And we can too because of Jesus Christ! God let Abraham look down the corridors of time. He saw Jesus and rejoiced!
*Now, the biggest difference between us and Abraham is that we can see much more that he could. We can see the cross! And we can see the empty tomb! So we can have multiplied joy!
*Yes we will face many trials and tribulations in life, but through Jesus Christ we can have overcoming, everlasting joy! We can have this joy because Jesus is the great "I AM." And He wants us to know it.
*Jesus Christ is bigger than time, but He stepped into time so that we could get to know Him and believe in Him and live with Him forever. The one who is bigger than time wants us to know His holiness, His hope, His humility, His honesty, and His happiness.
*Do you know Him? Do you know the God who is bigger than time. Trust in Jesus Christ to save you. And then keep following the great "I AM."
*Would you please bow for prayer.
(1) EXPLORING JOHN by John Phillips - p. 181
(2) Adapted from EXPLORING JOHN by John Phillips - p. 175
(3) "John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible" - John 8:51
(4) D.L. Moody, Christian History, no. 25 - Source: "Bible Illustrator for Windows" - Topic: Death - Subtopic: Of the Righteous - Index: 2160 - Date: 12/1997.1676 - Title: Only the Body Dies
(5) SermonCentral sermon "The Blood of Christ for Us" by Tim Zingale - 1 Peter 1:18-20
(6) Reader's Digest, April 2005, p.48D - Source: "IN OTHER WORDS" - May 2007 #2 by Dr. Raymond McHenry - www.iows.net