Monday, February 16, 2009

Take off you shoes...the ground you stand on is holy.

Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. (Acts 7:33)

When God commanded Moses to lead Israel out of slavery in Egypt into the promised land (Canaan), God had declared, “I am the God who was worshiped by your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Exod 3.1-6). When Moses asked what God’s name was, God replied, “tell them that the LORD, whose name is ‘I Am,’ has sent you (Exod 3.13-15).”

The Hebrew name Yahweh is most likely related to the Hebrew verb "to be" and so may mean “I am the one who is” or “I will be what I will be” or “I am the one who causes to be.” These possible meanings of the sacred name show that Yahweh is the God who is, will be, and causes to be. Yahweh, God, is the source of all that is and will fulfill his purpose for the people of God and for the whole creation.

When Jesus transfigured before the disciples on the Mount in Mark 9:1-29, we see a similar pattern of experience; an eclipsing revelation that both embodies and fulfills all that Moses ever experienced or foreshadowed. In the midst of that unveiling of the eternal Son, the Father commanded all generations hence forth to listen to...Him. It's really quite an extraordinary moment in light of the titles, duties, honor and historical realities of the Mt. Sinai story.

In John, Jesus uses the term “I am” to connect himself to these aspects of God's nature and to describe what God has given him to do for people. Jesus identifies himself as the one who supplies all needs (“I am the bread that gives life,” John 6.35) and who brings the knowledge about God to people (“I am the light of the world,” John 8.12). Jesus also uses this I am language to identify himself as the way for people to find God and become God's people (“I am the gate for the sheep,” John 10.7-16); and “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” John 14.6). Using imagery from Isaiah, Jesus says “I am the true vine” and that his people are “the branches,” sharing in the common life of the new people of God (John 15.1,5; see also Isa 5.1-7). By making these comparisons to the Jewish Scriptures, Jesus shows that he has been in God’s plan from the beginning: “even before Abraham was, I was, and I am” (John 8.58). (American Bible Society)

Like Moses, I too find myself taking my shoes off and bowing low in reverence at the knowledge that Jesus is more than I could ever name...to embody the fullness of showing forth the Father is a mystery indeed. I AM, is a name that cant be boxed in. It stands above, beyond and around all attempts to name Him, to define Him, to control Him.

But in Jesus...we have Someone we can see, hear, touch and know. He is more than we ever could define, as the Mt. of Transfiguration mysteriously proclaims...but at the same time, it condenses eternity into finiteness, in a way that is touchable.

I take my shoes off, because THIS GROUND, is now holy...that is amazing. Heaven, I expect to be holy...this ground? On earth as it is in Heaven, is a statmement that most people fail to understand the magnitude of, when uttered.

Jesus manifests that mystery in so many more ways than we could ever yet fully comprehend.
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