[CF Devotionals] 2012-07-12 - His Name

John 6:20 But Jesus said to them, It is I; be not afraid! [I Am; stop being frightened!] (AMP)

Let's set the scene. Jesus has sent His disciples ahead across the Sea of Galilee in a boat headed for the other side. It is dark and has become stormy with waves becoming large. From the bits I have read the geography around the body of water contributes to evening storms roiling up like is described in this chapter. Many of the group have been commercial fishermen on the Sea of Galilee for many years. They are seasoned sailors as part of their job. The boat is now three to four miles out from their starting point and Jesus comes walking on the water toward them through the storm.

A brief aside here. This verse above is from the Amplified Bible. In the brackets at the end of the sentence there is a more literal translation provided. One thing jumps out at me. Remember that the Bible was not written in the native language of most of us. It was written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. The translations have been done with the utmost care and have been reviewed over the centuries by many people with great skill in translation. I studied Spanish for three years in school. Two things became very clear during that time. There are some things that do not translate well. There are literally some ideas for which there is no corresponding word in another language. For example, there are something like seven words in the Greek language (five more commonly used) that are most often translated "love" in English. These different words in the Greek language are more specific facets of the concept of love.

Also, in translation some things are difficult to translate literally because they come out very clumsy in the targeted language. Jan can probably do a better job at explaining the details as she is much more skilled at translation. Now look at the sentence. Jesus is quoted as saying, "It is I;", where the literal translation is rendered, "I Am;". That may not seem like a huge difference, but it is. This is why. Jesus is not telling His friends, "Hey guys. It's me." He is using His name. Remember when Moses questioned the Lord in the burning bush:

Exo 3:13-15 Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘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, and this is My memorial-name to all generations [emphasis mine]. (NASB)

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus is surrounded by a crowd of people including a cohort of Roman soldiers and is asked who He is. Jesus literally answers, "I Am.", and the crowd reels back and  many fall to the ground. My translation reads, "I am He.", with He in italics indicating that the word was provided for clarity by the translator. The Creator used His name alone to let everyone present know Who was really in control. Jesus on the Sea of Galilee was explaining to the men in the boat why they had no reason to fear.

There were several reasons they might have been fearful. How many of us has seen a man walking across the surface of a body of water? There was also the growing storm around them. These men would know the dangers of storms on the water. We also often rely on our human experiences and understanding of situations - and fear when we may have no reason to be fearful. The Lord we serve is mighty beyond our understanding. He created time itself and has existed before time and will exist after He closes time. Think about that! By His grace eternity with Him is offered to us if we will turn and follow Him.

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com