Who Do You Say That I Am?

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
Luke 9:20-22 (NKJ)

Peter was confident and clearly understood that Jesus was the anointed One of God, the Son of God, and this wasn’t taught by man but by the Spirit of God. We live in a world of boundaries and limitations. There is a restriction to operate within time and space. Plus, we have many physical limitations. We need food, water, and shelter in order to survive. So, it is all too easy for man to view God from a natural viewpoint. We, in our limited understanding, often bring God down to the level of human standards. The Word of God shows us that His existence cannot be defined on a natural level. God does not operate in a time frame as we know and experience. His frame of reference is without bounds. Psalm 90:4 says, “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.”(NKJ) Man’s days are numbered, but God is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2,12). I want to explain to you about God’s timelessness and His unique ability to accomplish everything, everywhere and at all times. As we learn of Him through His Word, we see that “the past” is gone forever, “the now” just passed by, and “the tomorrow” does not exist today. This is what Jesus is in the principal of God’s “Eternal Is.”

I Am That I Am

In Exodus 3, Moses confronted the burning bush on Mount Horeb. He has spent 40 years on the backside of the desert and had seen many things, but nothing like this. The bush was aflame, but it was not consumed; neither are the things of God consumed.

As Moses examined the phenomenon, God spoke to him from the midst of the bush. He called Moses to lead the nation of Israel from its captivity in the land of Egypt. Upon receiving this instruction, Moses asked, “Whom shall I say sent me?” God’s response: “I AM THAT I AM.” ” And God said unto 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.” (Exodus 3:14).

“I AM” is translated from the Hebrew word “yavah,” which can be defined as “the self-sufficient, all-sufficient one; the eternal living one.” In John 8:58, Jesus proclaimed that “Before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:52-58, Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ “Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom do You make Yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”(NKJ)

In the Greek text, “I am” is “ego eimi”, a phrase that means “I of timeless being.” The theme of John’s Gospel is the Deity of the Savior. Here, as nowhere else in Scripture so fully, the Godhood of Christ is presented to our view. That which is outstanding in this fourth Gospel is the Divine Sonship of the Lord Jesus.

In this book, we are shown that the One who was heralded by the angels to the Bethlehem shepherds, who walked this earth for 33 years, who was crucified at Calvary, who rose in triumph from the grave, and who 40 days later departed from the scene, was none other than the Lord of glory. The evidence for this is overwhelming, the proofs almost without number, and the effect of contemplating them must be to bow our hearts in worship before `the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ’ (Titus 2:13).

God’s existence cannot be dated. He is the eternal God of Deuteronomy 33:27: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” He has no beginning and no end; rather, He is the beginning and the end: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is and which was and which is to come, the Almighty (Rev.1:8).

The Eternal Is of the Word

Like Himself, God’s Word is available to be an objective, ever-present standard for the believer’s life. Its validity rests on the Numbers 23:19a, fact that “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent [change His mind].”

Psalm 119:89 states that the Word is settled forever in heaven. And Isaiah 40:8 says “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.” The Apostles recognized that Jesus spoke the Words of eternal life, John 6:67-69, Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. “Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”(NKJ), and continued to follow Him. Because the Word was inspired by Him in 2 Timothy 3:16, it completely reflects His character. Notice, the Word “is” settled forever. It “is” a lamp unto the believers’ feet in Psalm 119:105, always there to light his walk with God. John 12:44-46: Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. “And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”

In John 1:17, it is written that Jesus was the “Word made flesh.” Those who partake of the Word are nourished by the very life of Christ, Who dwells within each born again believer.

Jesus Christ is calling His people to break out of their human ability and righteousness, and come to a supper of His Word. In Matthew 5:6, He said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” God has a provision for a people who are hungry after His life. The supply is the Word of God that produces life in every situation. The one who is lacking in any area in his life can partake of the Word of God. It is his source of wisdom, patience and understanding. God has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him…” (2 Peter 1:3a).

The Eternal Is of Forgiveness

Micah 7:18-19, “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.(NKJ)

These verses in Micah best reveal God’s “Eternal Is” existence in its beautiful relationship to forgiveness. Romans 3:23 declares, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Yet, those who have been born again, have been washed in the blood of Christ and cleansed from their sins.

Matthew 26:28, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Hebrews 9:14,” …how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God ? (NKJ)

No longer will God deal with humanity after their sins, nor will they be rewarded according to their iniquities in Psalm 103:10. Our sins are buried in the depths of the sea according to Micah 7:19. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us,” says Psalm 103:12.

This means the innocent blood of Jesus Christ shed on Calvary renders the believer complete and clean in the sight of God. Our sins do not even exist in God’s frame of reference. They are forgiven, forgotten and gone forever! The one who was once scarlet with sin is now seen by the Father as white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18). Hebrews 10:17 is a promise: “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”

The sacrifice of Calvary is still in effect today. This moment, God sees all of His people as lovely before His eyes. He cannot stop and look at their sins for 1 Thessalonians 5:10 says that Christ died that they “should live together withHim.” Hama is the Greek word translated “together.” This word’s primary meaning is “at once; at the same time.” Jesus’ substitutionary death on the Cross has enabled the believer to “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:6).

John 3:15 says, “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He views His children as complete in the Son (Colossians 2:10). His forgiveness, His love, and His life belong to the believer.

Responses from the “Eternal Is”

James 1:17b declares that with God there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” A person’s responses and reactions can be affected by what they eats, how someone greets them, or how they feels when waking up. On the contrary, God “is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth” (Job 23:13). He does not change, therefore, His responses are always available to His children’s requests. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Remember, His Word is settled forever in heaven (Psalm 119:89). He cannot go back on His promises because God cannot lie. (Titus 1:2)

The Bible offers many illustrations of this truth. In Acts 2, Peter preached a message in the power of the Holy Spirit and God responded by adding 3,000 souls to the New Testament church. God said in Isaiah 55:11 that His Word would not return void.

A prostitute pursued Jesus as He sat eating dinner with Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7:36- 50. Her sins were many, but she felt the eternal quality of Jesus’ love. She had watched Him and had this truth settled in her mind, Jesus Christ was there ready to forgive her in an instant.

She fell before Him, her tears of repentance washing away the dust from His feet. And he said “Thy sins are forgiven” (verse 48). In essence, Jesus’ response was this: “I don’t care how many times you have sinned. You are totally forgiven. I respond to your tears with my eternal love and grace.” God cannot refuse to respond to the tears of humility.

Lazarus died in John 11. His sisters, Mary and Martha, were heartbroken. Jesus answered their heartache by raising their brother from the dead. In Acts 12, Peter was imprisoned and sentenced to death. The Apostle James, brother of John, had just been executed by Herod. In verse 5, the church went to God in prayer “without ceasing” and, to the astonishment of the believers, an angel delivered Peter from the jail.

God has not changed. As His children seek, He causes them to find Him. They knock and His door of response is ever open. They pray and He answers. If they fail, God’s eternal provision is 1 John 1:9. He “is” faithful and just to forgive. God cannot act outside of Who He is: the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10).

God desires that believers study His Word and apply His eternal principles in their lives. The child of God is not greater than his Master (John 13:16). Here, Jesus had just finished washing the disciples’ feet, which represents His cleansing of the Christian’s walk with Him. God’s people must learn not to respond in their changeable temperaments, for 1 Corinthians 2:16b says, “we have the mind of Christ.” Believers have a opportunity to respond with Who He is in any circumstance.

Self-Analysis Vs. God Is

Often, a person’s first reaction when he finds himself in a difficult situation is “What did I do wrong?” and, “What am I going to do next?” This is the human evaluation, a reasoning that is totally separate from God’s character.

Jeremiah 17:9 gives the most accurate description of the source of human reasoning; “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

“The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint,” Isaiah 1:5b explains. These two passages render self-analysis useless as far as God is concerned. A man’s opinions and diagnosis of himself have no merit at all.

Constant self-analysis will not change a person. It takes more than knowledge about weaknesses and frailties to prevent a person from falling in them. People spend hours examining and searching themselves, only to end up frustrated and confused. The solutions to our failings can be found through humility at the Cross and obedience to the Word. It is God alone Who sees things as they really are and in Him alone can we find the answers.

It took some time and many painful experiences, but the prodigal son finally realized “Who God is.” In Luke 15:18, he made a decision to go home to his father. His situation brought him to face the fact that he had a desperate heart. Upon learning this, he said, “I’m going home.” Outside of the God Who is, there are no remedies for man’s desperate condition.

Many Christians cannot experience the yoke that is easy and the burden that is light (Matthew 11:30) because they refuse to approach the Father as a helpless child. They are weighed down with guilt and failure.

Believers need to have this confidence in God. When we are discouraged, we do not need self-analysis. After failure, we should not rationalize about why it happened, nor should we be occupied with past mistakes. We should revenge disobedience with obedience and come boldly to the throne of grace. All one has to do is believe and reckon on the Eternal sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Again, self-analysis is futile when “Jesus Christ Is” living inside of us.

All Christians need to study the Word, pray, and mediate on what we have heard, allowing it to become a part of us. As we do this, we become so occupied with Who God is that our thoughts about ourselves disappear. Begin to partake of God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Then, as we look at the God Who IS, do not study the predicament, seeking a way out. Rest in the fact that He Eternally IS and receive the peace of Philippians 4:7, a quietness and security that surpasses time, space and all understanding.

Through the Holy Spirit and the Word, the child of God learns to think in terms of eternity’s value system and not his own. Our thoughts and affections need to be on the things above (Colossians 3:1,2). These are the things of God, the things of eternity, and the things in the reality of His “Eternal Is.”

As I ponder the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I can’t help praising God for Who He Is and what He Himself provided for me What do we have that we have not been given? All things come from the hand of the Lord. We cannot claim any of His marvelous creation as our own. Even our position as His children was purchased with His Blood. Our eternal life is revealed in the power of His resurrection. Be confident and peaceful with God knowing that Jesus Christ is: the Father of Creation, the Prince of Peace, the Almighty God, the Great I AM!