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Summary: ONE IN A SERIES OF MESSAGES DEALING WITH THE "I AM" STATEMENTS IN THE BOOK OF JOHN

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I AM THE GATE

JOHN 10:1-10

INTRODUCTION:

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO BEGIN OUR STUDY OF THE “I AM” STATEMENTS THAT JESUS MAKES IN THE BOOK OF JOHN. NOW THERE IS NO CHRONOLOIGICAL ORDER TO FOLLOW IN THESE STATEMENTS, AND THEY ARE NOT NECESSARILY RELATED TO EACH OTHER. WHAT I’VE TRIED TO DO IS TO ARRANGE THINGS IN SUCH A WAY AS TO FLOW WITH THE PARTICULAR SERVICE.

LAST WEEK I TRIED TO IMPRESS ON YOU THE IMPORTANCE OF THE USE OF THE TERM “I AM.” ALL OF THESE STATEMENTS HAPPEN DURING THE LAST YEAR OF JESUS’ LIFE. IT WAS A TIME WHEN HE MET STRONG OPPOSITION BY THE PHARISEES, AND OTHER RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF THE TIME. THEY HAD MADE UP THEIR MINDS THAT JESUS HAD TO BE DEALT WITH AND SO TIME AND TIME AGAIN THEY WOULD CHALLENGE HIS TEACHING. EACH TIME THOUGH JESUS WOULD PROVE TO BE GREATER THAN THEY, AND THEY SOON REALIZED THAT JUST DISCREDITING JESUS WOULD NOT WORK, AND THAT THEY WOULD HAVE TO KILL HIM.

JESUS “I AM” STATEMENTS WERE DIRECT STATEMENTS OF DIETY. HE USES THE SAME LANGUAGE THAT GOD USED IN EXODUS 3:14.

EXODUS 3:14: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

THERE IS A SENSE OF SECURITY, A SENSE OF AUTHORITY, IN THE “I AM” STATEMENTS. WE ARE NOT DEALING WITH SOMEONE WHO SAID JESUS SAID. WE ARE DEALING WITH JESUS DIRECTLY.

LET ME ILLUSTRATE. IN THE MOVIE “THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT” RICHARD DRYFUS PLAYS A CHARACTER THAT IS RUNNING FOR THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. HE IS OPPOSING THE PRESIDENT PLAYED BY MICHAEL DOUGLAS. AFTER MANY OF HIS SPEECHES DRYFUS WOULD MAKE THIS STATEMENT “ MY NAME IS, WHATEVER IT WAS, AND I’M RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. NOW AT THE END OF THE MOVIE MICHAEL DOUGLAS IS AT A PRESS CONFERENCE AND HE SAYS “MY NAME IS , SO AND SO, AND “I AM” THE PRESIDENT.

YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE. ALL DRYFUS COULD SAY IS THAT HE WANTED TO BE PRESIDENT. HE HAD NO AUTHORITY TO SPEAK AS THE PRESIDENT, HE HAD NO PRESIDENTAL POWER BECAUSE HE WASN’T THE PRESIDENT. WHEN MICHAEL DOUGLAS SAID “I AM” THE PRESIDENT, HE WAS SAYING I HAVE THE POWER, I HAVE THE AUTHORITY, NOONE SPEAKS FOR ME BECAUSE “I AM” THE PRESIDENT.

NOW JESUS IS GOING TO USE THAT FOUNDATION AS AUTHORITY IN A SERIES OF STATEMENTS THAT THE PEOPLE CAN UNDERSTAND, AND THUS PLACE EVEN MORE PRESSURE ON THE PHARISEES AND OTHER RELIGIOUS LEADERS.

IN THE PASSAGE THAT WE’RE LOOKING AT TODAY JESUS IS APPEALING TO AN IMAGE THAT THE PEOPLE CAN RELATE TO QUITE WELL. THE GATE OF THE SHEEP PEN. THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT THIS IS THAT SHEEP PENS IN JESUS’ TIME DIDN’T HAVE GATES OR DOORS. THE SHEPHERD WAS THE DOOR.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND:

THE CONTEXT FOR THIS PASSAGE BEGINS IN CHAPTER 9. THE OPENING VERSES OF CHAPTER NINE INTRODUCE US TO A MAN WHO IS BORN BLIND. THE DISCIPLES MAKE THE CONCLUSION THAT THE PHARISEES WOULD LATER MAKE AND ASK JESUS WHO SINNED THE MAN OR HIS PARENTS THAT HE WAN BORN BLIND.


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