By Hal Lindsey
Frustration… rage… condemnation… confusion… fear.… To many, it feels like we’re in the middle of a massive and growing storm with a funnel cloud forming in the sky above our heads. Temper tantrums — with stomping feet, held breath, pointed fingers, and raised fists — are not the answer.
But there is an answer… and He has a name. Jesus.
Jesus was a Man of perfect humility. He’s the One who said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 NKJV). But He was also perfectly honest about His identity as God the Son sent from heaven to save us. Just look at some of the remarkable things He said about Himself.
In Mark 14:61-62, the high priest asked Jesus point blank “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?:” And Jesus answered just as clearly. “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
If you have an electronic Bible, it’s interesting to search for the words “greater than” in the New Testament. You quickly learn that Jesus claimed to be “greater than” the temple (Matthew 12:6), “greater than” the prophet Jonah (Matthew 12:41), and “greater than” Solomon (Matthew 12:42).
Jesus told the person known to Bible readers as “the woman at the well” that He could give her “living water.”
In trying to figure out His identity, she used the phrase “greater than.” She asked Jesus if He was “greater than” the patriarch Jacob who was said to have dug the well. Jesus didn’t say “Yes,” or “No.” But His answer clearly tells us that He is as high above Jacob as Mount Everest is high above an ant hill.
He said, “Everyone who drinks of this water [meaning water from Jacob’s well] will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14 NKJV).
To a world that’s desperately thirsty, and doesn’t even know what it thirsts for, this is Good News!
Later in the book of John, Jesus told some Jewish religious leaders, “‘Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.’ Then the Jews said to Him, ‘Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?’” (John 8:51-53 NKJV)
The Jewish leaders were outraged that Jesus might be placing Himself above Abraham, the father of the nation. They seemed to think that by putting the question straight to Him, they might shake Him to His senses. They asked, “Are You greater than our father Abraham?” Their own answer would be, “No one’s ‘greater than’ Abraham.”
Jesus — a Man of meekness and humility — astounded them with His answer.
“If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him… and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:54-56 NKJV)
At this point their minds were reeling. Abraham had lived and died more than 1600 years earlier, and this Fellow spoke as if He knew the patriarch personally. They said to Jesus, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
Jesus then gave an answer that resonates across the millennia. “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58 NKJV)
Their outrage was so great that they picked up stones to throw at Jesus, but He slipped away. This was not the time, the place, or the method by which He was to die, and He knew it.
Why did His statement make them so angry? Because He was pronouncing Himself to be God. When Moses asked God His name, He replied, “I AM THAT I AM.” God told Moses to tell the children of Israel that “I AM” had sent him to them. (Exodus 3:14)
But Jesus was also revealing an astounding aspect of God’s character. Jesus didn’t say, “Before Abraham was, I was.” That would have meant Jesus was impossibly old. But what He actually said was far more amazing than that. He said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Present tense. Only God could make such a claim!
His majesty and greatness deserve our awe and heartfelt worship. But there is more to Him than that. He’s not just this distant Majesty out there in the great beyond. He’s here now. By His Spirit, He’s as close to you as the air you breathe. And He’s saying now what He said two thousand years ago, as recorded in Matthew 11:29-30.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
If you’ve accepted this invitation from Him, this is a good time to relax in the security of His salvation, but also to respond to His great love with renewed determination to live in ways that please Him, and to share His love with others.
If you have not accepted that invitation… there’s no better time than now!