I Am who I Am
Exodus 3:13-15 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
It has been said that the Old Testament is Christ concealed and the New Testament is Christ revealed. In other words, the entirety of Scripture is about Jesus, it’s just more explicitly about Him in the New Testament. It’s a beautiful thing when the two come together. When something that was pointing to Jesus in the Old Testament is specifically referenced in the New Testament, it gives me chills.
The one passage of Scripture that gives me goose bumps more than anything else is found in John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.'” The religious leaders of the time were trying to trip Jesus up, as usual. In rebuttal to His claim to be God, they tried to use Abraham as the standard, asking if Jesus thought He was better than Abraham. Jesus’ reply stunned them, because not only was He claiming to be greater than Abraham, He was claiming to have created Abraham.
To the casual reader, the sentence “before Abraham was, I am” seems like terrible grammar or at least like Jesus didn’t have a firm grasp on how to use tenses. But this was huge. When Moses asked God to reveal His name, the response was “I AM.” God told Moses that He is the Lord of Abraham and now Jesus is telling the Jewish leaders that HE is the Lord of Abraham. HE is the I AM.
There are those who claim Jesus Christ was a real person who walked the earth, a great teacher, a good example, nothing more. Many of them will state that Jesus never claimed to be God. On the contrary, the very reason Jesus was arrested, tried, and crucified was because He did claim to be God. This is only one source of Jesus’ claim, and there are many. But this one is monumental. Jesus saying that He is the I AM spoken of in the Old Testament scriptures caused the Jews to pick up stones to throw at Him. They were going to kill Him right there with no arrest and no trial. It was incredibly offensive to them, yet we can’t ignore that many still followed Jesus and even more after this incident.
What Jesus had to say throughout His ministry on earth was offensive to those who didn’t want to hear it. It still is. Nothing has changed as far as Jesus claiming to be God (and then proving it by raising Himself from the dead), but through the years many have tried to paint a softer picture of Him. Even in many Western churches, the image of Jesus is a gentle one, someone who would never make such bold claims to deity. But the truth is found in God’s Word, and the truth is what sets us free.