The Great I AM

Burning-bush mosesHaving languished in slavery in Egypt for over 400 years, the Israelites thought all hope was gone. They feared that the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph had forgotten them. Then God appeared to an 80-year-old man named Moses in the desert, a humble shepherd who had once been a prince of Egypt (Exodus 2:10). God told him, “I will send you to Pharaoh so that you may bring my people … out of Egypt” (3:10).[1] Moses asked, “What shall I say to them when they say to me, ‘What is his name’?” (3:13) God replied, “I AM THAT I AM” (3:14, KJV). A few weeks later, the Israelites left Egypt for good (12:37-41).

Hearing that his cousin John the Baptist had been beheaded, Jesus Christ went to a deserted place alone (Matthew 14:13). Their leader dead, John’s disciples had no one to turn to. However, Jesus’ disciples had the great I AM. They just did not know it yet. After feeding a multitude with loaves and fish and then sending them away, Jesus told his disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee while he went up a mountain to pray (14:13-23). In the early morning, the disciples were caught in a storm in the boat, so Jesus met them, “walking on the sea” (14:24-25). They cried out in fear, “It is a ghost!” (14:26) Jesus replied, “It is I. Do not be afraid” (14:27).[2] After he entered the boat, the storm ceased (14:32).

lazarus jesusWhen their brother Lazarus became sick, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus so he could heal him (John 11:1-3). But Jesus stayed where he was for two days (11:6). So Lazarus died and his sisters buried him. They must have thought that Jesus had forgotten them. All hope was gone. When Jesus and his disciples finally arrived in Bethany, they learned that Lazarus had been dead four days (11:17). At that time, Jews believed it was possible to return to life in three days but not four. Martha told Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died” (11:21). Jesus replied, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. Whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (11:25-26). So Jesus went to the tomb and cried, “Lazarus, come forth!” (11:43) Then the once-dead man came out (11:44).

Slavery, old age, death, and fear are no match for the great I AM, “who is and who was and who is to come” (Revelation 1:8). Jesus Christ is “alive forevermore” (1:18). He alone holds “the keys of Hades and of death” (1:18). So we can trust him with the dark places in our lives.

The mountains shake before you
The demons run and flee
At the mention of the name “King of majesty”
There is no power in hell
Or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the great I AM
– “Great I AM” (Jared Anderson)


[1] New King James Version (NKJV), unless otherwise noted
[2] The phrase “It is I” literally means to exist or be present.


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