John 11:17-40 John 14:6 Genesis 17:1-3
Romans 6:3-4 Revelation 1:8-9 Exodus 3:1-6
Exodus 3:13-15 Genesis 12:1-6
“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’’” (Exodus 3:10).
“I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 1:8-9).
The Lord desires to be known. To know Him He must first reveal Himself to us. Recall a question posed by Jesus to the disciples. In St. Matthew’s gospel we read: “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare'a Philip'pi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do men say that the Son of man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli'jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven’” (Matthew 16:13-17).
Jesus asked this question towards the end of His earthly ministry. Many people had the opportunity to observe and to study Him and to come to some conclusion as to who Jesus was. The disciples also had this chance. They had been with Jesus for at least 3 years and had, more than most, the chance to observe Him. In response to this question it was Peter who, answering for the others, declared Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Simon Peter was in fact correct. Consider the response of Jesus. Jesus confirmed that this response by Peter was not a result of his opinion. Peter was not influenced by his own feelings or thought. Rather, his response was a consequence of his spirit having been enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
Consider the example of Abraham. Before he came to know the Lord Abraham lived in Ur during an era dominated by paganism. Abraham himself was a pagan until the day the Lord revealed Himself to him. Immediately thereafter, the Lord began to do a work in Abraham’s life and Abraham entered into a personal relationship with the Lord. However, this work of revelation did not end with a single event. Rather, it was a continual process. Abraham, his wife Sarah, his nephew Lot departed from Ur and set out for a land which the Lord would make known to him. After a time spent in Haran they resumed their journey until they came to settle in the land of Canaan. In the book of Genesis we read: “Now the LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.’ So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sar'ai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions which they had gathered, and the persons that they had gotten in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land” (Genesis 12:1-6).
Abraham obeyed the Lord and was not living in Canaan, in the land the Lord had willed for him. However, this was not the end of the Lord’s revelation of who He is.
Recall the words of the Lord to Abraham some twenty-four years later. Again, in Genesis we read: “When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.’ Then Abram fell on his face” (Genesis 17:1-3). Here the Lord revealed another aspect of who He is to Abraham. It was God Almighty, or the El-Shaddai which means the All Sufficient One, that is He who is able to meet all our needs and all our longings.
Consider the revelation to Abraham given in the aftermath of when Abraham and three hundred and eighteen of trained servants defeated the armies of a confederacy of four kings and rescued, among others, Lot and his family. As Abraham was making his way back home he encountered Melchizedeck. We read: “After his return from the defeat of Ched or lao'mer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). And Mel chiz'edek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’ And the king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.’ But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, maker of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me; let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share’” (Genesis 14:17-24). Here the Lord revealed Himself as the Most High God, Maker of Heaven and Earth. Through this revelation Abraham came to understand that he did not belong to himself. Instead, he belonged to God and no longer wanted anything for himself that God had not willed for him.
We recall the example of Moses, and how one day, after leaving Egypt and becoming, of all things, a shepherd (an occupation considered an abomination by the Egyptians), he encountered a burning bush. It was through this earthly marvel that the Lord revealed Himself to Moses. And, moreover, it was through this experience that Moses developed his own personal relationship with God. In the book of Exodus we read: “Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Mid'ian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.’ When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’ Then he said, ‘Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ And he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God” (Exodus 3:1-6).
The Lord commanded Moses to remove his shoes, because the place on which he was standing was holy ground. The Lord began by revealing Himself as the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.
Reading on in this same chapter we are made to see another aspect of the Lord’s revelation of Himself to Moses: “Then the LORD said, ‘I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Per'izzites, the Hivites, and the Jeb'usites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring forth my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?’ He said, ‘But I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God upon this mountain.’ 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 for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations’” (Exodus 3:7-15).
Notice the name by which the Lord revealed Himself to Moses – “I AM”. Here Moses received a clear revelation of the Lord. I AM, meaning that I am who I claim to be. God is all that He claims to be.
When Jesus says, “I am the light of this world”, He is. He gives Light, and He is Light. He gives Life and He is Life. God is all and whoever He claims to be.
In speaking to the twelve Jesus says the following: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me’” (John 14:6). In the expanse of all human history, is there any other individual who could make such a statement? I AM the way, I AM the truth and I AM the life.
In the opening chapter of the book of Revelation, the Lord declares the following concerning Himself. We read: “I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God
and the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 1:8-9). Notice again the phrase, I AM. He is the alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. He is the beginning of all beginnings and the end of all ends.
Jesus reveals Himself to us according to our needs. Consider the death Lazarus and the encounter of Jesus with Martha and the discussion which took place prior to Lazarus’ resurrection. We read: “Now when Jesus came, he found that Laz'arus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world’” (John 11:17-27).
Here Jesus reveals Himself to Martha as the Resurrection and the Life. However, Lazarus had been dead and buried four days. What was Martha to think? In response to Jesus asking if Martha believed this, she responded in a rather roundabout way claiming to believe that Jesus was the Christ who is to come into the world.
A short time later Jesus, as Jesus called for the tomb to be opened, Martha indirectly objected. Consider then the response of Jesus. We read: “Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’” (John 11:38-40).
“If you would believe you would see the glory of God?” What would typically come first? Seeing or believing? After all, seeing is believing, right? However, in the realm of the Spirit in order to see things clearly, to see things as they really are, one must first believe. As we believe we will come to know who Jesus is, and He will come to us and reveal who He is – He is indeed everything He says He is – the Great I AM!