Summary: Before Abraham was born, I AM. At first blush it seems a strange thing for Jesus to say. Even Jesus’grammar would appear to be up the wall. But is it?
This year we plan to base the themes of our services in Stody around some of the "I AM" statements of Jesus in the Gospel according to St. John
1. Before Abraham was born, I AM (Jn 8:58)
2. I am the Bread of life (Jn 6:35)
3. I am the Resurrection and the Life (Jn 11;25)
4. I am from above (Jn 8:23
5. I am the Light of the World (Jn 9:5)
6. I am the True Vine (Jn 15:1)
7. I am the Son of God (Jn 10:36)
8. I am the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:14)
9. I am the Door (Jn 10:7)
10. I am the Way the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6)
This morning we shall look at the passage in which Jesus said: Before Abraham was born, I AM
Illustration: THE MARS BAR QUESTION
There is a show on television "Wheel of Fortune" in the UK where the contestants have to guess a word or phrase, based on consanants that are revealed on a display board. When it is a player’s turn ,he or she can guess if a consanant is in the word or phrase.
If that letter is present, it is displayed on a board, and this process goes on until enough letters to guess the word or phrase.
I’d like to do something like that this morning
I have eight words – jumbled up, which I would like you to guess.
And the first letter of each word goes to form a proper word, which is the subject of my talk this morning. And the person who guesses it will get a mars bar when you can guess the word.
You - what I would call another person
when talking to him/her
I - a personal pronoun
Isaiah - the name of a famous OT prophet
Tony - a nickname for the prime minister
Deity - another word for God
English - a nationality that many of us are
Timothy - two books in the NT are addressed to him
Name - what you are called
Put them in order to read: IDENTITY
From the day you are born to the day you die, you have an identity.
It is usually the name you parents give you at birth, but you can develop a nickname. My brother Adrian was always called Eddie, because when my sister Sue was small she couldn’t say Adrian but only Eddie!
When you go to a party, the first thing someone who doesn’t know you asks is your name!
And in the Bible names meant something. For example, Jonathan, the name of our eldest means “gift of God” and Christopher our second means “the Christ bearer”
And Martin comes from the Roman God of war Mars!
Let’s park that for a moment
Story: A mission for Moses
Come back with me 4,000 years - to the land of Midian, in the Middle East. An Egyptian prince has fled from his country for killing a man. And now, forty years on, he is a shepherd tending his sheep in the desert.
As he is strolling about, he sees a bush on fire. Nothing particularly unusual about this in the hot desert, where there is little vegetation and a small fire like that will soon burn out without causing any damage.
But as he looks at it – he suddenly realises that the bush is not being burnt up. He goes closer to look and a voice says to him: Moses, take your sandals off because you are on holy ground.
And God commissions Moses to take the Israelites out of Egypt.
Moses asks God:
“Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them “The God of your fathers has sent me to you” and they ask me: “What is his name?” – then what shall I tell them
God said to Moses: “I AM who I am. This sis
what you are to say to the Israelites. I AM
has sent me to you” (Ex 3:13-14)
2. WHAT A STRANGE THING TO SAY:"Before Abraham was born, I AM".
At first blush it seems as if Jesus’ grammar is up the wall. He is mixing past with present.
But when Jesus uses the term "I AM " he is making a claim to be God. He has adopted the “I AM name (GK “ergo eimi”) of God.
You might ask, why use such obscure language. Well it wasn’t obscure to the Jews of Jesus day.
They knew full well what he meant because they took up stones to stone him for blasphemy.
3. WHY DIDN’T JESUS SAY: “I was born before Abraham.”
Well because he wasn’t claiming to have #
been born on this earth before Abraham.
What Jesus was saying is that he has always existed – even before Abraham was born - and before he was born in a stable at Bethlehem 2000 years ago.