THE GREAT I AM

I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

In Exodus 16 the ignorance and unbelief of the Israelites is exposed. They have just been delivered from slavery in Egypt by a powerful, miraculous act of the LORD [chapters 11 to 14]. They have just sung and danced in an exultant time of worshipping the LORD [chapter 15]. Their Red Sea experience should have taught them about the LORD. Their verbal praise of the LORD should have been totally genuine. But Exodus 16, and later events, reveals that they neither understood nor really believed. For them, the whole amazing Exodus event meant nothing; their words of praise meant nothing. Nothing permanent. Nothing lasting. Nothing deep.

Here in Exodus 16, and beyond, they reveal that although they were saved physically from physical enslavement they do not know the LORD; they do not believe the LORD. They wish the LORD had left them to live and die back in Egypt [16:3]. They grumbled against the LORD [Exodus 16:7-11].

This discontentment, this grumbling about physical necessities, parallels the spiritual discontentment of those who identify as Christians but who do not understand who Jesus Christ really is, and who do not understand what it is that Jesus Christ has actually done for them.

In John 6:35 Jesus Christ said: ‘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.’

The outcome of coming to the real Jesus, the outcome of believing in the real Jesus, is total and permanent spiritual satisfaction and contentment. We can call this a ‘promise’ if we like, and it is a promise. But it is also a statement of fact: that those who really come to the real Jesus, those who really believe in the real Jesus actually have in Jesus Christ all they can ever need and all they will ever need for spiritual life and for spiritual sustenance.

Jesus Christ is the I AM – the all-sufficient One: the One who is for us all that we need and all that we ever will need. He is the LORD – Jehovah Jireh – the One who provides redemption. He is Jehovah Tsidkenu – the LORD our Righteousness. He is the LORD of glory. He is Jehovah Shalom – the LORD our Peace. He is the LORD of hosts – the holy, majestic One of Isaiah 6. He is the LORD our Shepherd.

He is all of this and more.

We do not need additional revelations to know God: we have Jesus Christ, in whom we see and know God [John 12:45; 14:6-10].

We do not need additional experiences to keep us topped up spiritually: we have Jesus Christ, in whom we already have eternal and abundant life [1John 5:12; John 10:10].

We do not need to maintain a prescribed level of personal piety or spirituality: we have Jesus Christ, who is both our righteousness and our peace with God [1Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 2:14] and in whom God deems us holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation [Colossians 1:22].

We do not need to strive in pseudo worship to bring God down to us or to generate a personal encounter with God: we have Jesus Christ: Immanuel – God with us [Matthew 1:23], and we are already seated in Christ in the very presence of God [Ephesians 2:6].

We do not need to exude positivity in order to receive God’s ‘blessing’: we have Jesus Christ, in whom God has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has for us [Ephesians 1:3].

All there is to know about God is found in Jesus Christ: in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge [Colossians 2:3]. Any teacher, any writer, who entices us beyond or beside Jesus Christ to additional ‘revelation’ or additional ‘knowledge’ is a deceiver … luring us away from the perfection and fullness of knowledge of God in Christ to a lesser knowledge that is both false and destructive.

All that God requires of us is found in Jesus Christ: in him we are complete [Colossians 2:10 KJV], lacking nothing, able to stand confidently in the presence of God - guilt free and acquitted. Any teacher or writer who persuades us that there is something lacking, something that we have to add to the work of Christ to sure up our salvation is a deceiver – luring us away from the perfection and completeness of the salvation we have in Christ to a lesser salvation that is no salvation at all.

No matter how popular and powerful it seems to be, and no matter how popular and powerful those who promote it seem to be, let us cast aside every teaching that deceives us into thinking there is more – more truth about God than the truth revealed by Jesus Christ; more criteria to be met for salvation than those criteria already fulfilled by Jesus Christ in his life, death and resurrection.

Let us not be like those deceived by the false teachers in Colosse – whom Paul describes as having ‘lost connection with the Head’ [Colossians 2:19] because, discontented with Jesus Christ, they have reached for an elusive ‘more’ or endeavored to supply a demanded ‘more’.

Let us all heed and believe the word of the LORD, the I AM, the All-sufficient One, Jesus Christ: ‘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’ … and be thankful.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2013