A name defines, describes as does His
As students go back to school, one of the common events is a roll call.
Adams, Adamley, Adler, Anderson, Bueller, etc. Sometimes it is necessary to let a teacher know that one goes by something different than their given name.
Then there is the discipline of remembering to put one’s name at the top of papers and tests.
The reality is, our name is an important and essential marker for our existence. Knowing names and remembering names is part of the human experience that allows us to know others and be known by others. A name defines, describes and is an imperative announcement.
In Exodus 3, Moses had an extraordinary experience with THE LORD in the form of a burning bush that did not burn up.
It was in this dialogue that God called Moses to the plan and purpose He had for him. A plan and purpose that would lead him back to a country where he had been raised and had fled in shame after a murder.
This plan would require Moses to interact with the king of Egypt whom he probably knew very well, and the race of people called Israelites of whom he was related, yet not connected.
In God’s plan and calling for this man, Moses had a specific and essential question: “Who are YOU?”
“But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:13-14 NLT
It is not hard to see Moses’ point for asking this question. Some background is that Moses had been away from Egypt for 40 years.
The man who was Pharaoh when he left was now dead.
A whole new generation of Israelites had been born and grown up during this time. He was a man of 80 when God called him to go back to Egypt to see that God’s people were set free. It is a natural question for him to ask who is sending him, not just for the people but also for his own knowledge.
Jesus picks up the motif of “I AM” in John’s gospel. There are seven specific “I AM’s” that Jesus uses to describe not just His name, but also who He is and what He gives us those to believe.
There is even an eighth statement in John 8:58 that proclaims just as Moses heard at the burning bush, that Jesus is I AM.
The I Am that is before the beginning of time, the I Am that is the Alpha and the Omega, the I Am that is the beginning and the end. The I Am who is the creator, savior, redeemer and soon coming King.
I am is not a statement that says that God is the nest god, or the most powerful god or the most important god, I AM proclaims that GOD is GOD!
The message of the burning bush and the words of Jesus himself must be the foundational belief, promise, and hope that our entire life is laid upon, even amid the most tragic situations of life.
Who Is He? What is His Name?
He Is everlasting: He is God; He is I AM. That Is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Frist Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, in Orange.