Flip through the Book of John and you’ll find numerous times Jesus states, “I am …”, but what was he really getting at with these proclamations. Journey highlights five key times Jesus told us what he was and what he really meant by his statements.
Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life”, not “I am the triple bypass”
Resurrection is not resuscitation; Jesus is inviting us to something new, not the maintenance of something past its use-by-date. Our Christian values and principles should be at the core of what we do but just as the union of three denominations in 1977 (now known as the Uniting Church in Australia) was exciting and a leap of faith, is it time we look at fresh ways to spread the Gospel?
Jesus said “I am the true vine”, not “I am the true chardonnay”
Jesus is calling us to participate in the coming kingdom of God. It is not something already pre-packaged ready for us to indulge, it’s something we are called to build together. So let’s just think here, if Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, what sort of fruit are we producing? The kind they grow in Barossa Valley, South Australia … right?
Jesus said “I am the light of the world”, not “I am the light of the church”
The prevenient grace of God has gone before us into the world in order to prepare the way for us to follow. If we follow long enough, we’d find out that the path prepared is one that leads outside the church’s four walls and into neighbourhoods, communities and maybe even into the digital space.
Jesus said “I am the good shepherd”, not “I am the good traffic cop”
Jesus cares for the sheep more than any set of rules or regulations. His infinite goodness, righteousness and grace to defend us, his flock, culminated in his sacrifice on the cross for our sins. So what’s the bigger offence here, someone whose life choices are against the church’s “rules” or the church not caring for those different to us?
Jesus said “I am the gate”, not “I am the wall”
Jesus is the way people enter into the kingdom of God and is not the obstacle in their way. There’s often a perception that following Jesus includes a lot of limitations or barriers but there is also life in abundance, greener pastures if you will, because of those limitations. Think about it, if a professional athlete didn’t have limitations with what they ate or how they spend their time, would he or she reach their full potential and be the athlete they were called to be?