“A Man Named ‘God’ Settles With Credit Agency He Sued.”
This ABC headline is not a hoax. A 27-year old Brooklyn man named “God” finally won his battle with Equifax to recognize his name as legitimate. God Gazarov, a Russian immigrant, claims he was named “God” after his Grandfather, a well-respected army commander.
Gazarov had been fighting for his name to be recognized for years after having been denied credit by Capital One, turned down for car loans and not being able to obtain a credit report from Equifax. Gazarov said he was proud of his name but joked “I never claimed I’m the Almighty leader of the world.”
However, there was once a man who claimed to be the Almighty. It was a shocking claim. An outrageous claim. A claim that upset and infuriated the religious leaders of his day.
The man’s name was Jesus.
The occasion was Jesus’ controversial discourse regarding his identity in John 8:13-59. Jesus begins by asserting “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.” The Jewish leaders recoiled at this statement, proudly affirming “We’re Abraham’s descendant” and falsely asserting they had never been in bondage to anyone. However, Jesus was talking about freedom from sin.
Jesus quickly challenges their mistaken belief that their physical lineage was equivalent to their spiritual character. Their antagonism toward Jesus was obvious. Their interaction was contentious. Their quibbles were insulting. And their attitude and action were unlike Abraham.
Then Jesus delivers this claim that enraged the Pharisees. “Before Abraham was I AM.”
I AM was the memorial name of Jehovah. It dates back to the call of Moses when God spoke to him through the burning bush. God had a plan for Moses, now a Shepherd, to return to Egypt, and lead His people out of bondage. When Moses began to make excuses and ask, “Who shall I say sent me? What is His name?” God replied “I AM WHO I AM.”
I AM means “the eternally existent One.” As Merrill Tenney writes, “…the phrase I AM is an assertion of absolute, timeless existence, not merely of a personal identity…” The Pharisees understood Jesus’ claim, one they considered blasphemous. He was saying, “I AM GOD!”
Before there was time there was God. There was Christ. There was the Great I AM. The “I AM’ statements of Jesus cannot be ignored. Neglected. Or disregarded.
When Judas betrayed Jesus and the solders came seeking him, Jesus admitted, “I AM he.”
On the Friday Jesus was condemned to die on the cross, the Sanhedrin Council asked him, “Are you the Son of God?
Jesus replied, ” I AM.”
When Pilate asked, “Are you a King?
Jesus said, “I AM.”
In fact, there are 7 great I AM statements that speak to Jesus’ Deity that we want to explore over the next 7 weeks.
Make no mistake about it. Unlike the man from Brooklyn, Jesus did claim to be the Almighty!
The Jewish leaders rejected the GREAT I AM. The rancorous mob cried for the crucifixion of the Christ. The Roman soldiers unmercifully flogged and nailed spikes through the hands and feet of God. Incredibly the Creator of the world hung like a rag doll on a wooden cross, wood that He had created!
On the darkest Friday in human history, the religious and politically powerful said to the I AM, “You’re not!”
But that was Friday.
And they were wrong.
Little did they know that Sunday was coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman