Advent day 3: "What's his name?"
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14-15
I find introductions to be a remarkably awkward necessity. When we meet someone new, it seems that there is an expected exchange of information. It is as if in the few brief moments of introduction we have an opportunity to define ourselves, to give ourselves a name. Perhaps we share our job title, perhaps we describe our hobbies, perhaps we make associations with family or friends... but whatever means by which we give ourselves a name, it is in an introduction that we discover who we believe we are.
God had called Moses to deliver Israel from Pharaoh’s oppression. As Moses ran through the scenario in his head, he anticipated an objection... Who is this God who is sending him... “What is his name?” At face value, the Lord’s answer to Moses seems as if it is an elusive dodge to a difficult question, but on the contrary, we find that the name God gives is deeply theological and immensely important as we discover who God is. “I AM WHO I AM” is an identity that needs no definition, for God’s existence and his identity are not dependent upon any thing or any person. He is the self-existing, eternal God, who has no beginning and has no end. God needs no introduction. God is who He is, and the simplicity of his name only points us to the complexity of his being.
During the Advent season, we celebrate many names which are attributed to Jesus... Christ, Messiah, Son of Man, Light of the World, Living Water, Bread of Life... each of these names are colored with the characteristics of his identity and his purpose. However, when the day is done, when Christmas has come, when we come to adore the babe in the manger, we must realize that the one we celebrate is the one who proclaimed, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). With this introduction, Jesus not only described himself as timeless but he declared himself to be “I AM” – the self-existing, eternal God. This is beauty of advent. This is mystery of the incarnation. This is meaning of our Christmas celebration... that the Christ who has come is the “I AM”. Fully man. Fully God. The one who needs no definition has defined himself in person—Jesus Christ.
So what will define you this Christmas season? Is it busyness of our lives? The gifts we give? The trinkets we treasure?
...Or the “I AM” who has come?
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"May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word." Psalm 119:74