Scripture: Matthew 6:12
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Take it Further:
In recent weeks, my study of the Word has reopened my eyes to the wonders of the Word. Tuesday, my time with the Lord was so incredibly rich. I got lost in the context of what was going on, culturally, with the eight “I Am” statements Jesus makes in the book of John. Yes, eight.
Understanding the culture of the time is everything when reading the Word. At the time Jesus made his first seven “I Am” statements, the culture had seven individual gods, each laying claim to one of those attributes. Knowing how powerful those first seven statements were, I had one thought: This will not end well for some people. Jesus wasn’t just telling the community who he was, but he also was serving notice to those little gods who professed to be the real deal. And in so doing, he left his so-called followers, who also worshipped idols, with a choice to make. To be sure, Jesus had a bit of an edge. Well, now. True that. Amen.
But then there was an eighth “I Am” statement. Though the statement did not begin with “I Am,” it was the most emphatic statement of them all. And to them all, we have the choice of believing, saying “yes” to his Word:
“Jesus said to them, ‘I give you this eternal truth: I have existed long before Abraham was born, for I AM!’” (John 8:58, TPT).
It is one thing to say “yes” when I’m seeing new things in scriptures I’ve read countless times. It’s like being in a new relationship; things are going well, all is fresh and new. It’s easier to celebrate God’s abundant life, restoration, and community, and to follow him obediently. No one needs to tell us how to act when things are going well. Perhaps it is more notable to feel none of those things, yet have a song like Holy Water take you to your knees! Not because of what you do or receive, but because of who he is. Sometimes when I pray through a story, I imagine myself as being in the room. I observe what is going on. Writer David Bahn shares beautifully as if he were present in John 8:48–59:
“Some say that the saddest verse in the Bible is Judges 2:10. Others might suggest, ‘Jesus wept.’ Still, others might suggest Genesis 3:6. I might say that the last part of John 8:59 is the saddest: Jesus leaves the Temple. The Son of God, through whom the whole universe was made, comes to his own, should have been the object of their worship. He came to fulfill the whole Law. He came to be among God’s people, and he has no place in the Temple dedicated to the God who sent him.”
Jesus came to fulfill the whole Law; so, how’s my love walk? Am I just saying “yes” only to his grace and mercy, or am I sold out to “I Am”? Though I’ll always be a work in progress, there’s plenty to be done to ensure my “yes” is in check. My personal list might include being as concerned about seeking forgiveness as I am about forgiving others, and, when appropriate, working towards reconciliation. It might include being respectful of our environment. Maybe my
building relationships within the body of Christ could use some work? No doubt, I can restrain my “edge” when things get personal. My “yes” needs to be infrared enough to act on behalf of those with the greatest needs in my community. Even with a quivering lip, my “yes” needs to speak God’s truth to believers and non-believers.
Jesus is the living Amen, and that reality requires a choice. Making a choice requires action. After all, if we come to church and are not changed by the Word, why are we coming? I’ve got work to do! Join me, won’t you?
We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.
*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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