John #45 I Am He
That you may Believe and Have Life #45
Open your Bibles with me today to the Eighteenth Chapter of the Gospel of John. If you have been with us, you know that Jesus has been walking with his disciples following the Passover Meal. He's been teaching them. He is the Vine we are the Branches. He was leaving and has left the Holy Spirit with us to be in us, to instruct us, to equip, and empower us for all that God has for us. Then he stopped, he raised his hands toward Heaven and prayed. He prayed a Victor's Prayer, an Intercessor's Prayer, and a Savior's prayer. …
So, picking up where we left off … Read with me
I have told you before that as I read through and have preached through John. I have paid very special attention to the words in Red. That is, the words of Jesus. Now the words of Jesus we just read are for a very specific situation, for a very specific time.
Now, we have to pay special attention and take care when we apply principles of exegesis and homiletics, which are fancy words for interpretation and preaching. We have to be careful that we don't make them say anything we want.
Also when we read a scripture, we want to know how they would have been heard by the audience of the day. When Jesus speaks we want to know how the words were intended to impact them and then how we can learn from them as well.
So, as I approached this passage for 2008 I have walked in thin ice and I must be careful. However, sometimes, from this first Century encounter, I believe we can hear Jesus speak the same words to us today and we can learn something from them. I believe they can speak in truth to us today. I believe we can apply them as an allegory to our lives today. Because the word is living and active
We are seeking … aren't we?
Judas comes into garden leading a group of Soldiers, Pharisees, and officials.
1. Who Is It You Want?
It is interesting that the Pharisees, the High Priest the People of Israel were so very frustrated with Roman Rule. They wanted to rule their own lives. They wanted Deliverance and Redemption. They wanted a scapegoat to appease the Roman government. So for fear that the whole country would be affected, they chose Jesus. Remember Caiaphus "better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." John 11:50
They wanted redemption, deliverance, a scapegoat, but didn't realize that Jesus was right before them.
You have heard the term "scapegoat" but do you know what it means?
Lev. 16:8-26, explains it to us
On the annual Day of Atonement, the sins of the people were forgiven through sacrifice of bull and goat. Then, he would lay both hands on the head of a live goat, confess the sins of the people, putting them on the goat's head. A man would be selected to lead the goat away. The purpose of the goat was to carry the sins of the people away to a solitary place, released in the desert.
And Jesus said "who do you want"
Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus said
"I am He"
Eimi - I exist - I am - I happen - I am present
Oh there were Pharisees in this group … and they would recognize Jesus as using the same phrase in Greek that is used to Translate God's Name for himself in Exodus 3 when God said "I am, who I am"
And they drew back and fell down
I know we are special effects people
I don't know if this was a 1St Century Hollywood moment
I don't know if there was reverb in his voice and it boomed out I AM
But it even affected these Romans who wouldn't have understood the Theological Implications
Jesus was saying, "I'm NOT just Jesus from Nazareth"
"I'm not Just Jesus born in Bethlehem"
I Am Jesus, God the Son, 2nd Person of the Trinity
I have always been, I always will be
I am God
I AM the ONE that you SEEK
You need to know that today
The Bottom Line is, it is Jesus that you Seek.
You may or may not yet realize it, but it is in Truth Jesus that you seek
If you are seeking love, it is Jesus you seek for God is Love
If you are seeking the Way, Jesus is the way
If you are seeking Truth, Jesus is the Truth
If you are seeking Life, Jesus is the Life
If you are seeking hope, Christ in YOU in the Hope of Glory.
I would offer to you today that what you seek is found in Jesus Christ
No matter what you want, I honestly believe who you want is Jesus
He is our Redemption
He is our Deliverer
He is our Scapegoat
But realizing you need Jesus is the beginning
Jesus said "I Am HE" as they came looking for him … and they fell back on the ground.
Jesus said "I AM HE" and they DREW BACK …
Jesus said it again … "Who is it that you want" and again they said "Jesus of Nazareth" … and he said "I told you that I am He" …
Then he said something I believe we need to hear today for our own reasons
2. If You Are Looking For Me, Let These Go
What are you holding onto today?
If Jesus is what you seek
All other substitutes must be put away
Everything else you hold on to must be let go of …
Now, I know Jesus is telling them to let the disciples leave, to not hold this against them,
But if Jesus is what you need, if he is what you seek
Why take anything else?
Jesus said: "If anyone comes to me and hates not his father, mother, wife, and children, and yes even his own life, he cannot be my disciples"
Jesus said, "if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself take up his cross daily and follow me"
Jesus said "whoever wants to save his life will lost it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it"
Jesus said "what can a man exchange for his soul?"
I believe that If I'm a good person, I'll be alright with God … You better let go of that if you are looking for Jesus
I would place my faith in Jesus, but that's not what my friends want me to do … You better let go of that if you are looking for Jesus
I follow Jesus but I don't really have time right now. I would study more but I am too busy with work, I would commit to the ways of God, but my Job requires too much of me …
What are you going to have to let go of … to embrace Jesus
Some of you have good things but hold them too tightly … let go if it is Jesus you seek
All good things, but if God took them all from you … would it be alright as long as you still have him?
Job learned that the hard way
He lost wife, children, friends, wealth, and feeling of worth, and was left with ONLY GOD …
If you say, "All I've got is God" … then you've got all you need
You've heard the phrase
Let Go and Let God
Well … there is great truth in that statement
It doesn't mean sit on the roadside
It doesn't mean be lazy
It means turn over the reigns
It means turn over control
It means God and God Alone
Salvation is found in no one else, there is no other name under Heaven by which we must saved than Jesus
All we need is found in God+nothing
Do you believe that?
Do you believe that Jesus is who you want?
Well then … There's one more phrase
3. Put Your Sword Away
Peter believed that Jesus was the way
He believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God but
Now he was afraid he was going to lose it all
So, he was willing to fight to keep it
He wanted a Kingdom he could put his hands so he wanted to fight for it
But folks if Jesus is who you seek and you are willing to let go of everything else …
A. Drink the Cup
Jesus said, "I have to drink the cup the Father has given me" that is to say, I have to obey God
Jesus said in John 6 that if we would come after him we have to eat and drink from HIM …
He must be our nourishment and sustenance
Don't you see the error in the theology of many today … If you live right, if you work hard, if you do enough good deeds, you can get in the kingdom
1. you can't fight your way
Peter, James, John, the other disciples they were fighting over good seats when Jesus "came into his Kingdom" … now they were trying to fight in THIS world to keep it … But his Kingdom is NOT of this world
Later in Chapter 18, Jesus is before Pilate and he tells Pilate … "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place"
There are people trying to earn their salvation by fighting to do all the right things
There are people IN the body trying FIGHT for their place in the Kingdom of God by serving on the right committee, teaching the right class, doing the most … so I can have a place in the Kingdom
Don't fight for your "position" here because his Kingdom is not here
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures here where moth and rust destroy … and thieves break in and steal … but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where there are no moth or rust, where thieves cannot break in and steal …
The reason to serve is not FOR a place in the Kingdom but BECAUSE of a place in Heaven.
You can't fight your way in …
2. you can't steal your way
Nor can you
3. you can't buy your way
Oh there are plenty of folks focused on material things.
Even in the body of Christ
Oh the out of control focus on the perceived blessing of God that comes with wealth and prosperity
Oh if wealth and prosperity were a sign of God's Kingdom blessings, then we might as well have a worship service at Wall Street, The Academy Awards, or The Grammys … Because if that's God's Kingdom, then let's have a service.
Can God bless his children with wealth and prosperous times? YES
Does he? YES
Is he required to? No
Is it always a sign of knowing him or being committed to him?
No, because you can't buy your way into the Kingdom
For By Grace are you saved, through faith, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast
Drink the Cup and receive him as Lord and Savior
Drink the Cup of obedience to him and live as he commands to live
If Jesus calls you to go to the Mission Field and share Christ in obscurity for the sake of the Kingdom, Drink the Cup
If Jesus wants you to bear the burden of wealth that you might be used for Kingdom purposes here on earth, Drink the Cup.
Drink the Cup of Salvation
Drink the Cup and
B. Follow Christ
1. Drink because Jesus Drank
We follow the example of Christ
Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus Paul writes in Philippians 2
He emptied himself and became obedient to death, even death on the cross … that is why we call him LORD … that is WHY I have followed God with my Life, because Jesus was Obedient and laid his life down for me so I lay mine down for him
2. LIVE because Jesus
c. Lived again
I don't live because of anything I have done but because Jesus came to this earth and was born of a virgin living a perfect life
I live and Follow Christ because Jesus Christ died and put to death sin and the power of death.
I Live and Follow Christ because Jesus Christ rose again, in the power Holy Spirit and that same Spirit which resurrected Christ from the dead now lives in me as the gift of Christ
I was watching the Twilight Zone marathon and Burgess Meredith was playing the Devil … he worked a deal for the soul of an unsuspecting guy
The interesting thing was the guy didn't believe in the devil when he agreed to the deal
But at the end when he had outwitted him and gotten his soul back, he made the statement, that he "never goes where he's not invited"
Satan was welcomed into the lives of men in the garden.
The only way out of that agreement is through Jesus Christ
Satan cannot occupy the same space as the Holy Spirit.
Who do you seek? No one would admit that they seek satan and his ways and his purposes but he is diametrically opposed to all of Christ.
Can't you see today that Christ is who you seek?
Can't you see today that if you are looking for Christ, let go of everything else
Put your sword away you can't fight for it, steal, or buy it.
But Drink Deep
Jesus stood up in the middle of a feast.
Interestingly they had been most likely gorging themselves with and Jesus stood up and said "if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink"
Rev. 22:17 - Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life
For everything you are looking for, Jesus says "I am he"
All you are longing for he says "I am He"
All you are living for hoping to find in this life, he says "I am he"
As long as you keep filling that hole with something else, you will be frustrated.
Let me be say as gently as I can … lives have been lost … despair has over come those who wouldn't drink from the well that is Jesus, wouldn't respond to the call of Jesus, would receive the deliverance that is Jesus. They refuse the redemption of a scapegoat called Jesus.
Lay your search at his feet. Strap your sins and cares on his back he can handle it. Look at him, Look at him. In Isaiah, God says Look unto me and be saved all the earth.
The writer of Hebrews says "Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." Oh whatever drives passion in you, is from Jesus and he is the only one that can complete it in you.
Jesus says "come to me all who are weary …" "Come to me if you are hungry" "come to me if you are thirsty" … "come to me if you are alone because I won't leave you or forsake you"
"Come" he says "I am He
Come for Strength, I am He
Hope … Come I am he
Love … Come … I am He
Answers … Come … I am He
Life … Come … I am He
Direction … Come … I am He
Forgiveness … Come … I am He
I have always been he
I always AM He
I will always be He
What you seek
What you need, the answer to every question
I AM HE
I had a Friend in college named David. He was a smart, very intelligent guy. He was majoring in psychology. We became friends and then roommates. Interestingly he was a self-proclaimed atheist. "There is no God", he said. But he told me one day, "I want what you have." "what do you mean?" I asked. "You are genuinely happy, I want that." Then another thing, "you have a sense of direction in your life, I want that. You have hope, I want that." I told him that my happiness was because I knew Christ. It was because I knew he had me in his hands and the world belonged to him as well. So I didn't have to worry or get frustrated and sad because he is my life and hope. The direction that I had was because I was following Christ and the plan that he had for my life.
David said "I don't know about God or Christ, but I want what you have." Some time passed, and one day, David said "Jim, I will never be satisfied until I am a Christian." And early one morning, two years later, when on his knees, he said yes to Jesus. He confessed him as Lord, Life, Longing, and Jesus came into his life.
Let me tell you something. It will knock you down today to realize that what you have been fighting for, trying to beg, buy, borrow or steal, is right before you. Get up, open up, it is free, the Lamb of God who TAKES away the sins of the world.