by Shirley Pierson
We read in Matthew 14:22-27, after feeding the five thousand, Jesus tells his disciples to get into a boat and go ahead of him to the other side of the lake. A terrible storm suddenly over takes the disciples and they struggle to keep afloat. About three o'clock in the morning they see what appears to be a ghost walking towards them on the water. They become frightened and cry out. Jesus immediately responds, "Take courage it is I". The original Greek text reads, "Take courage it is I AM".
In the Old Testament, Exodus 3:14, Moses is startled to see a bush burning but not being consumed. And from the bush a voice calls his name. After a lengthy discussion Moses says to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to set you free, and they reply, "What's his name?" "What shall I say?" God answers Moses, "Tell them I AM sent me to you".
Why is the addition of this small word in Matthew so important? It identifies Jesus with I AM and makes him a part of the whole essence of God. Jesus and the Father are one.
Webster's Dictionary says that the word 'essence' means: the fundamental nature of someone, true substance, something or someone that exists, essential being.
Here is a list of just some of the things that exist in I AM:
I AM is deliver.
I AM is love.
I AM is salvation.
I AM is truth.
I AM is light.
I AM is healer.
I AM is peace.
I AM is redeemer.
All our needs are met in I AM.
Essence is more than character. We all have character but our character is marred by sin. The essence of God cannot associate with sin.
When God made Adam he made him in his own image. In Genesis 1:26, God said, "Let us make man in our image." at that moment the fullness of God was poured into Adam and he became the very essence of the living God. But Adam sinned and the essence of God died in Adam and he became flawed and his sin has been passed down through the generations to you and me and our children's children.
In no one else or in any of the thousands of religions, philosophies, cults, new age, scientology, etc., can be found the embodiment of I AM. Buddhists worship thousands of god's. But none of these false gods can supply the needs of the worshipers. Can you imagine what it must be like to never have your prayers answered, never to see God work in your life, to live in darkness and depression, to never feel the love, joy and peace, that I AM gives to his children, and not be able to look forward to the blessed hope of eternal life with God?
People all over the world and here in Tennessee choose other god's to meet their spiritual and physical needs and to find happiness. Some seek fulfillment in pleasure, materialism, sex, drugs, food, organizations and physical fitness all of these pursuits fall way short of providing the comfort, well being, health, hope, love and joy that only I AM can provide for us.
In our nation today we suffer and struggle with a President, who in spite of holding the highest office in the land, having a loving wife and daughter, faithful friends and the support of millions of voters, he is not satisfied. He has committed adultery, lied to his wife, daughter, the American people, and his party bringing disgrace to them all. He is a member of a Christian church but he obviously never encountered I AM.
According to the prophet Amos, we are judged by our leaders. The prophet Nathan confronted King David after his adultery with a woman who was not his wife. David repented in sorrow and sincerity, and God forgave his sin. But, the nation of Israel began to decline after that until it was divided and taken into captivity. David died prematurely. Is this to be our fate?
All of us are subject to these same temptations of the flesh. Therefore, we must come to I AM in total repentance, faith, and sincerity. God demands that our total being, warts and all, be submitted to his will. Not just for an hour or so a week but in our homes, work place, community, recreation etc. For there is no one else under heaven and earth that can give us the potential to be made new in his image. This is not always easy, especially to our undisciplined minds. In John 6:66-68, we read Jesus had just preached a hard lesson to the people, and many of his disciples left him in disgust Jesus turned to Peter and said, "Peter will you leave me too?" Peter replies, "To whom would I go? Only you have the words of eternally life."(and the essence of I AM). Peter was right, none of us have anywhere else to go. At the foot of the cross is where we need to be.
It is not to late to encounter your burning bush and come into the presence of our holy God, the great I AM. For in him only can we find healing, love, peace, joy, freedom, hope in this world and our eternal destiny in the next.