Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” John 8:58
“I am he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) John 18:5
Often, we Christians celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, but forget about his life. Yes, there are close to three decades we don’t know about him. As a child being raised by Mary and Joseph, playing with his brothers and sisters, apprenticing as a carpenter and even making a living as one.
Then there are those three years we read about in our Bibles. His mission work; the work he was sent here to do by our Father. The work he did when he walked side by side with the women and men who faithfully followed him, gave up everything for him, were confused by him, healed by him, forgiven by him, given grace by him, loved by him and eventually came to know and love him.
According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus began his ministry by teaching in the synagogues in Galilee, then went to his home town of Nazareth to teach in the synagogue there.
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
Because he has anointed me
To proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovering of the sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he said to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:16-21
This public declaration of who he was did not sit well with the people in his home town.
Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Matthew 13:55-57
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. Mark 6:3
Even though many witnessed his miracles and spent time in his presence, they still did not believe. The Gospel of John records many metaphors Jesus used in his ministry to help people understand who he is.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:7,9
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:11
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” John 11:25
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides n me and I in him will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1,5
We have a choice; to walk with him or not; to believe or not; to love or not. With belief and faith come unexplainable acceptance, grace, mercy, peace and love.
Jesus had a choice, too. He chose to endure incredible torture. He chose to take on our disconnectedness from God so that we – God’s children – could be reconciled to his Father.
Before his death, Jesus prayed for his disciples. But he also prayed for us. Those of us living today. Here is his prayer for you and for me. Let his love into your heart. Soak in it. Cry if you need to. And be blessed by it.
“I’m not praying only for them. I’m also praying for those who will believe in me through their message. I pray that all of these people continue to have unity in the way that you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they may be united with us so that the world will believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me. I did this so that they are united in the same way we are. I am in them, and you are in me. So they are completely united. In this way the world knows that you have sent me and that you have loved them in the same way you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)