Jesus Christ the Light of The World.
We can look back now with hindsight and have an understanding of the true nature of our Lord Jesus Christ through the writings
of his disciples, the people who actually knew him. But even the disciples did not really understand who he was whilst he was still alive. Yes they
knew he was a great rabbi and had seen him perform miracles but it wasn't until after his death that the truth really hit home.
He asked his disciples, 'Who do people say I am'? They answered saying, 'Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets'.
He asked Peter, 'who do you say I am'? To which Peter replied, 'You are The Christ, the Son of The Living
God'. Jesus said, 'Blessed are you Simon, Son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my father who is in Heaven' (see Mathew 16:13-17).
This implies that, up to that point they didn't truly know he was The Christ, the Son of the Living God.
So, we know that his disciples came to realise that he was The Christ, the long awaited Messiah. However, he was more than this, he was
actually God made Man. It seems the Disciples didn't come to realise this until after his death and resurrection. The one Disciple who
had a deeper understanding than the others was the apostle John.
The apostle Peter was the first to realise he was The Christ but John understood the greater truth as he records in the opening
words of The Gospel According to John Chapter 1 verse 1:
'In the beginning was The Word
and The Word was with God
and The Word was God'.
Before being born a man, Jesus was 'The Word', through him God created all things.
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John 6:38, "I came down from heaven". "I am the living bread which came down from heaven."
( verse 51 .) The Jews disbelieved this claim, and said, "How can this be?" And many of his disciples,
when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying, who can hear it?" ( verse 60 .)
"When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if you shall
see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before?" But "from that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with
him" ( verses 61-66 ), because of this claim of heavenly origin and pre-human existence.
Again, we find him before the Pharisees declaring the same truth, saying, "I know whence I came and whither I go....I am from above,
I am not of this world;...I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me....It is my Father that honoreth me, and if I should say I know
him not I shall be a liar" John 8:14,23,42,54,55 . Then said the Pharisees, "Art thou greater
than our father Abraham?" Jesus answered, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad." "Then said the Jews unto him, Thou
art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? [Abraham had been dead two thousand years.] Jesus said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto
you, 'Before Abraham was I Am.' The use of 'I AM' really upset the Pharisees because by using 'I AM' Jesus was making it clear to them that he was God, or rather, he is God. But Jesus knew what he was doing and the use of 'I AM' was intentional and he knew it would be confrontational.
Perhaps at this stage a brief explanation of the term 'I AM' is required. The past tense (I was), the perfect tense (I have been), and the past perfect tense (I had been) all deal with the past, yet Jesus chose to deliberately use the present tense "I AM." He used a past tense verb when describing Abraham ("before Abraham was..."), but the present tense verb when describing Himself ("I AM"). To the Pharisees this was the last straw and they would plot to kill him from that point on.
So how do we explain the meaning of 'I AM'. ( in Hebrew)
It is first recorded in the Bible in Exodus 3:13-14. Moses is asking God for his name so he can give it to the Children of Isreal. Moses obviously felt it would be better for people to refer to God by his name rather than simply 'The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob etc. So in response God said to Moses, 'I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, 'I AM' hath sent me unto you.
In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH or in Hewrew ("I AM HE WHO IS", "I AM WHO AM" or "I AM WHO I AM"), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is a mystery. It is a name revealed and yet it is like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is
God was saying to Moses that He IS, He simply IS. He exists. He is all that He is. The Hebrew for "I AM" can be used in any tense, past, future, present, progressive, etc. So you could say that God is all He ever was, or that God WILL be what He IS being, He was what He WILL be, etc, etc.However, to keep it simple we simply say 'I AM'. What could be more perfect?
- Jesus Christ is God made flesh.
- He is Son of God, because he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and had no earthly father.
- He is Son of Man because he was born of Mary, a decendant of royal line of King David.
- He is the long awaited Messiah, the Anointed one of God as fortold by the Profit Isiah and others.
- He is the Lamb of God, sacrificed on the Passover (Easter) just as a perfect lamb had been sacrificed each year since the first Passover in Egypt, to thank God for passing them over during the dreadful night of the 10th plague.
- He is the Good Shepherd who tends his flock of followers (Christians).
Jesus said, 'I am the Way, The Truth and The Life,
no one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known
me, you should have known my Father also: and from henceforth
you know him, and have seen him'.
See John 14:6.
St. John said in Chapter 3 of his Gospel: 'For God
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting
life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the
world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that
believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not
is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name
of the only begotten Son of God.'
St. Paul said in his first letter to Timothy Chapter 2 Verse 5 'For
there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all'.