“... Before Abraham was, I am.” John 8 v 58
Who are you? Who do you think you are? This is a question that nearly all of us are faced with at some time or another in our lives – often from ourselves. There are numerous books and programmes that all ask the same question about identity, they ask about ancestry, they ask about personal history. People have an innate desire to know the truth about just who the other person is. People also want to know the truth about themselves: just who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing? The answers to these questions are as complicated as the questions themselves. We are complex beings always searching for a better way, a brighter path, and the right thing.
When Jesus Christ was asked the question about His identity by a group of hostile Jews He answered them by saying “I am.” (John 8 v 58) This answer enraged the group and they tried to stone Him to death. The use of the words “I am” signified divinity. It was prophesied that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem Ephratah he would “be ruler of Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5 v 6). This eternal, everlasting aspect of God is confirmed in Colossians 1 v 16 -17: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things are created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
In Exodus 3 v 14 a frightened Moses goes to God and asks who should he tell the children of Israel has sent him to them, God responds to Moses and says “I AM hath sent me unto you.” God repeats “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex 3 v14). The Hebrew word for “I am” is in an imperfect tense and it means I was, I am and I always will be. It signifies the eternity of God and the completeness of God. In the Greek words of the New Testament Jesus uses this same phrase and tense when He says “ego eime”: I am. Jesus states that He is the same and was the same before Abraham. The same God who led the children of Israel is the same God who died on Calvary. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day and for ever.”(Heb 13 v 8) In the final book of the Bible John the Revelator greets the churches with grace and peace “from him which is, and which was, and which is to come.” (Rev 1 v 4) It is this peace that we can all claim when we approach God because He is, He always has been, and He always will be.
When we question who we are as individuals in relation to our knowledge of who God is we know that we are loved, we are valued, we are precious. The search for identity is often a lifelong one, however, when we get an insight into who God is we are better able to see who we are.
Who am I? I am a beautiful person created by the love of God. I am because He made me.
With God we have consistency. With God we have surety. With God we have eternity. This eternity is not an existence for a limited amount of time it is the existence that God has: the timeless existence outside of time.