Friday Review: “The I AM Statements of Jesus”
“Jesus in the Present Tense“
Here’s something for those who would like to go a little deeper into the Scriptures during the “I AM” Series at The Life Church on Sundays. Or if my posts have stirred your interest in the topic this is a good resource to accompany you in your Bible study.
I love the title “Jesus in the Present Tense”. It speaks to me of insight, immediacy and involvement. I do not expect to be a passive observer while reading a book titled this way.
It tells me that the author will not limit himself to prodding theological expositions or exegetical drudgery. Though Wiersbe does not disappoint if you are interested in Scripture references. Wiersbe’s writing is a veritable cornucopia of supporting Bible references.
Wiersbe moves the reader through the initial Moses question of whom shall I tell them sent me and then into Apostle John’s usage of I AM. He then follows in straightforward fashion a review of the seven I AM statements of Jesus. He then adds a section one would not expect, one about the cross and the shame quoting from the OT. He follows this up with “I AM Jesus” from the Book of ACTS and completes the book with a look at the responses we can have to the revelation of the Great I AM “Living and Serving in the Present Tense”.
As an accompanying work to a study on the I AM statements of Jesus it is quite good. As I mentioned Wiersbe has loaded this book with scripture references and cross references. How deep you go is up to the reader. The book reads well and is instructive even without taking the many tangential explorations offered.
The book is an easy read. Wiersbe truly hits his stride in The Door and The Shepherd sections where examples and application abound. The earlier sections are instructive and, yes, full of scripture. But I couldn’t help feeling that Wiersbe was just giving me surface thoughts (don’t get me wrong, Wiersbe’s been at this a long time and his surface thoughts beat many preachers deep reflections). But if given a little bit more time to write he would have unlocked some secret revelation vault and would have knocked the reader’s socks off with additional insights and examples.
The Door (or Gate) section impressed me the most. How could anyone provide so much inspirational insights about “I AM the Door”. But he does and then nicely weaves it into The Shepherd chapter.
I recommend the book. Easily accessible. Full of insights. Great title and focus on “Jesus in the Present Tense”. Our relationship with Jesus is now and we have a relationship with source of the Seven I AM statements. Jesus is our Bread of Life, our Light, the gate and shepherd caring and protecting us. He is the resurrected one who brings us Life. Not only does he lead the way, he is the way! Not only does he show us truth, he is the truth! He not only brings us into life, he is the life!
The True Vine section that focuses on abiding is true food for the soul and rest to the weary. Abiding epitomizes the Present Tense we are to live in. I am reminded of books like Brother Lawrence’s “The Imitation of Christ”, Murray’s “Abiding in Christ” and Watchman Nee’s “The Release of the Spirit”.
The study of the seven I AM statements of Christ will not be an end in itself. It will spur you on to want to know Jesus more and more. Wiersbe book is a great resource to have as you pursue the Great I AM!
Amazon’s Audio-Digital Combination
To go through the book I used a combination of Audible (audio) and Kindle (digital, paperless). There is a wonderful app that Amazon has in place now that automatically synchronizes between your reading and your listening. It’s called “Whispersync for Voice”. If you read pages 12-25 on the morning and then use audio on the way to work, the audio will not start at the last place you listened it will ask you to choose… 1) last time you listened 2) furthest point via reading. Your audio can “sync” up to page 25 right off and you continue in the book without skipping a beat!
There is an even newer addition to reading experience available from the folks at Amazon… it’s called “Immersion Reading”. On your Kindle Fire HD you can listen and read at the same time while the Amazon app highlights the words being read!