There And Back Again Week 11 7.2.17

Sermon Notes



SLIDE:  There and Back Again – “Who do you think you are?!”

SLIDE:  Biblically Based, Relationally Driven, Spirit-Led

 SLIDE: Exploring the connections between the Old Testament and New Testaments is important for our faith journey.

Once upon a time, almost 2000 years ago, there was a Jewish man named Jesus …

John 8: 42-53

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? You are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires … he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you … do not belong to God.

The Jews were furious and —

answered him, “That’s it. We were right all along when we called you a Samaritan and said you were crazy — demon-possessed!””

“I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.  I tell you in truth, whoever obeys my word will never see death.

At this they exclaimed, “Now we  know that you are  demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think that you are?


Who does Jesus think that he is?

We’ll get back to that.


Let’s start with who I am.






Suffice to say, knowing who you’re talking to matters.


Names are what set us apart. Names are also what connect us.


Sometimes, names show a special connection, like when a Father names his son after himself.


The series we’re in — There and Back Again —  is specifically for the purpose of exploring the connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament because it’s important for our faith journey.


Week 3 of the series, Pete talked about the value of knowing someone’s story. Can you imagine if you told your parents you were uninterested in knowing anything about them from before you were born? That’s sort of what like reading the Old Testament is like. Learning about God’s story before your direct participation began.


I would say, How much more do we need to know someone’s NAME.


The OT is drenched in the value of names.


Power of Naming things in the OT:

  • What did God do immediately after creation? Name things.
  • What’s the first thing Adam was told to do? NAME the animals.


Naming is inherent to God and man’s process of creation and connection. It comes to another level entirely when we start looking at people’s names. Sometimes names were descriptive of a physical trait or circumstance of their birth. Other times, a child received a name based on what their parents perceived their character or ability or mission to be—


Which is to say, In the OT, names were a little more on the nose.

  • Isaac means laughter.
  • Meaning of the name Eve is: Life, living, lively.
  • Esau = hairy
  • If parents were kinder than Esau’s, they would often name their children something that links to God. Many classic names from the Old Testament have God rooted in them – just look out for the ‘El’ (Hebrew for ‘God’): Daniel, Nathaniel, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha etc.


But – More than parents –  when God names someone, he is labeling them exactly as they are or will be – because he can see the heart and mind of those he names. The names he gives are sure indicators of the destiny they will have.


  • What did God name the first Human? ADAM is derived from the Hebrew word Adamah meaning ‘ground’. Dust to dust. Ground to Ground.
  • Jacob meant “he grasps the heel” or “one who deceives”. God renames Jacob Israel (32:28), which can mean “He who prevails with God,” or “May God prevail,” after Jacob wrestles with him and is set on a new and godly trajectory.
  • God changed Abram’s “high father” name to “Abraham,” “father of a multitude” (Genesis 17:5) and his wife’s name from “Sarai,” “my princess,” to “Sarah,” “princess of many” (Genesis 17:15–16).
  1. What God names a person has weight and meaning. Thus, When God names HIMSELF, we may be sure the name is packed with who he is and what he intends to do. God does not choose names for himself at random. He chooses names for the sake of revealing things about himself that will deepen our love for him, enlarge our admiration and strengthen our faith.


So where do we learn God’s self-given name????  


SLIDE:  Exodus 3:13-15


Exodus 3:13-15  Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ “This is my name forever,  the name you shall call me  from generation to generation.

  1. Ehyeh asher ehyeh (Hebrew: אהיה אשר אהיה ) is the first of three responses given to Moses when he asks for God’s name in the Book of Exodus.


SLIDE: Victor P. Hamilton suggests “some legitimate translations […]: (1) ‘I am who I am’; (2) ‘I am who I was’; (3) ‘I am who I shall be’; (4) ‘I was who I am’; (5) ‘I was who I was’; (6) ‘I was who I shall be’; (7) ‘I shall be who I am’; (8) ‘I shall be who I was’; (9) ‘I shall be who I shall be.’



  1. אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶהI shall be the one who will be it  — Exodus 3:14
    1. compressed into אֶהְיֶה — Exodus 3:14
      • Changed to nominal form יהוה He who will be it — Exodus 3:15

SLIDE: Yahweh יְהוָ֞ה

Only God could make his nickname just as heavily important as his real name.


“I AM” is the personal name for God; Yahweh יְהוָ֞ה. There are  6,220 occurrences of this word in the Old Testament.


What is the value or meaning we see behind God’s Name?:

  • SLIDE: The tense of his name comprehends all times
  • SLIDE: Independent: I AM WHO I AM . He is the same despite all relationships.
  • SLIDE: It is meant to be Comforting: God as always himself.

SLIDE:  Psalm 9:10    And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.



Let’s move back to our story from the very beginning. The Jews have just asked Jesus, who do you think that you are?!


SLIDE: John 8: 54-58

Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

“You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

 “Very truly I tell you,” 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.


What is my tension? Why, in all of the possible stories of the Old and New Testament, did I choose to share this?:


This verse (Before Abraham was born, I am) when read in light of the OT, appears to be a clear claim by Jesus to something so much more that humanity.


This is why we need to read the NT in the context of the OT. They are not picking up stones to kill him because he made a gaffe with his tenses.

They are picking up stones to kill him because he has just CLAIMED TO NAME OF THE LIVING GOD. THE GOD WHO DOES NOT CHANGE. THE GOD WHO WAS AND IS AND IS TO COME. The God who is always the “I am.”


SLIDE: Before Abraham was born, I am (John 8:58)


Implications of Jesus claiming the Jewish God’s name:


He is saying that they are one.


  • John 10:33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” (following 10:30 where he says “I and the father are one.”)
  • Col 2:9; “for in Christ, all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”



The Old Testament is how we know that, in Jewish Tradition, names are VERY important. And the OT is the only reason that we know the name of God: “I Am.” If we don’t know the OT — which both Jesus and the Jews at the time of the New Testament knew intimately — then we can truly understand what they’re talking about. No wonder we don’t see the very obvious hints — if not outright claims — Jesus made to his Godhood.



  • There are many.
    • Temple
    • He said to Baptize in my name and the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matt 28:19-20)
    • He claims to be the ultimate Judge (Matt 25:31-32) yet Psalm 50 says “the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself is judge. Selah.”
    • John 10:26-29 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”  … Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Slide: Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”


Why does it matter? Why does it matter that these Scriptures are here, pointing to the fact that Jesus WAS divine?


[story from college]


She told me, the kindest but most confident reprimand you can imagine: Sarah, Jesus comes for the sick, not the well. Normally, I put the weight on the fact that Jesus comes for us despite, and even because of our brokenness. Today I want to emphasize something else: Jesus CAME.


If Jesus is claiming to be God, if He IS God That means something incredible:


God came down to earth.


It means God himself ….


If Jesus is just a man ….


But if Jesus is who he says he is …


That is why I am a Christian. Because of what my God was willing to do, to endure, to share with humanity, by coming as Jesus. That is a God worth following. A God worth worshiping. A God worth loving.  A God who doesn’t demand our sacrifice — but rather, a God who willingly becomes it.

Pastor Pete Hartwig