You are not wrong to sing, “Jesus is the sweetest name I know,” even though Yahweh is. – John Piper
Our church, Greenwood Community Church is currently going through a series of “I Am” statements from Jesus in the Gospel of John. Jesus claims, “I AM the Bread of Life,” “I AM the Gate,” “I AM the Resurrection and the Life,”I AM the Good Shepherd,” as well as others. As we go through the various claims that Jesus made, I can’t help but notice the common theme here. Jesus is not only claiming to be each of these things. Rather, He is claiming to be one with I AM. Those listening to and interacting with Jesus would be struck by the language that Jesus continued to use as he declared, “I AM.”
Many listening would have instantly thought of the Great I AM, YHWH, the God of Israel. In Exodus 3:14-15, we see an interaction between God and Moses, wherein God reveals his eternal name. The passage reads
14God 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.
This is my name forever, He says! And, as John Piper points out, “No man gave Him this name.” So, in John 8:58, when Jesus Christ says that before Abraham was, “I AM,” Jesus is claiming to be God and one with the Father. He is claiming to be the one who will carry out the covenantal salvation that was promised to Abraham all those years ago.
May we remember today that there is no other name than Jesus under heaven by which we may be saved (Acts 4:12). And may we take his claim to be “I AM” seriously as we praise the sweet name of YHWH (Hallelujah)!