What Jesus said about Himself
One of the most beautiful ways to look at our Savior Jesus is to think about how He described Himself in the "I Am" sayings in the Gospel of John. In making the "I Am" statements, Jesus was claiming to be the "I Am" or the God of the Old Testament who had been spoken about by the prophets known as "The Messiah."
As we draw closer to Jesus, we can learn so much about Him through His "I Am" sayings:
I am the bread of life John 6:35 (NIV)
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."
I am the vine John 15:5 (NIV)
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
I am the light of the world John 8:12 (NIV)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
I am the good shepherd John 10:14-15 (NIV)
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep."
I am the gate for the sheep John 10:7-10 (NIV)
Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
I am the way and the truth and the life John 14:6 (NIV)
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
I am the resurrection and the life John 11:21 (NIV)
"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Before Abraham was born, I am John 8:58-59 (NIV)
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
Whenever we share the good news about Jesus with people, this is the Jesus, the Great I Am, who we are pointing people's attention to. Bless His name!
What Jesus thinks of sinners
• Jesus was not isolated from sinners but allowed the crowds to crush against Him (Luke 8:40-46)
• Jesus and His disciples became physically tired from ministering among sinners (Mark 6:30-32)
• Jesus gave His time to travel to where sinners lived (Matthew 9:35)
• Jesus ate and drank with sinners (Matthew 9:11)
• Jesus received hospitality from sinners (Luke 19:5-7)
• Jesus gave hospitality to sinners (Mark 2:15)
• Jesus fed hungry people instead of sending them away to buy food themselves (Mark 6:30-44)
• Jesus touched sinners whom society considered unclean (Matthew 8:2-3; Luke 7:36-50)
• Jesus showed His compassion for sinners by healing the sick and raising the dead (Matthew 9:35; John 11:38-44)
• Jesus freed sinners from the terrible control of demons (Matthew 8:16-17)
• Jesus gave freedom to sinners who were in bondage (John 8:1-11)
• Jesus invited sinners who were weary and burdened to come to Him (Matthew 11:28-30)
• Jesus was visibly moved by sinners’ lack of guidance and direction (Matthew 9:36)
• Jesus reached out to many different cultural and language groups in “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Matthew 4:13-16)
• Jesus saw Himself as the good shepherd for sinners who would allow Him to lead them (John 10:11-18)
• Jesus gives life to sinners (John 10:10)
• Jesus forgave sinners who persecuted and killed Him (Luke 23:33-34)
How Jesus Sees Culture
This is a really important question for a church that is asking the Lord to help us reflect His love for the nations within our own local group of Christians! How does Jesus see culture?
We only have to look into the Gospel accounts to see how Jesus related to people of other cultural groups, people who were not born Jewish like His own people. Emulating Jesus' approach to other peoples and cultures means we need to:
Respect people for their faith in God, not their cultural or language background. We see Jesus in Matthew 8 talking about a Roman military commander who had faith that Jesus could heal his sick servant with a word, "Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith."
Believe that Jesus' good news is for all people. In a town called Sychar, Jesus' disciples returned from buying food to find Him talking with a Samaritan woman. This "taboo" conversation we read about in John 4 resulted in many Samaritans, whom the Jews despised, believing in Jesus!
Proclaim freedom from sin and oppression to all people. In Matthew 8 Jesus traveled to a foreign territory known as the country of the Gadarenes. There He cast many demons out of two men who had been in bondage to their power, a great example to us to cross cultural, traditional, and language barriers in sharing Jesus with people. On another occasion, recorded in Mark 8, Jesus cast the demon out of a Syro-Phoenecian woman's daughter, another foreigner.
Treat people of different cultural and language groups equally. One of ten men Jesus healed in Luke 17 who were suffering from the dreaded disease of leprosy was a foreigner, a Samaritan. Jesus praised this foreigner for his gratitude to Jesus for healing him along with the other nine, who were Jews like Jesus but showed no gratitude. In Jesus' Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, He lifts up a foreigner as an example for His Jewish listeners to follow!
Live among the people of the world without compromising the standards God has for us. Jesus prayed for His followers in His High Priestly prayer in John 17, "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." Jesus does not intend for us to withdraw from the culture around us with the result that we lose our voice for Him in the world. At the same time, He does acknowledge the danger of the evil one, described in Ephesians 2 as "the prince of the power of the air."