…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14
William E Miller was a missionary in Iran for 43 years in the last century. In one of his journeys in Iran, …. he shares Jesus with a fellow Middle Eastern traveler. He gives an interesting insight into Jesus (“I am”) from the book of John; which His hearers would have identified.
(In some cultures, life is described as a road, a path)
… If you had been going on a journey in Iran fifty years ago through places where there were no planes or trains or buses, as there are now, you would have ridden in a carriage or a wagon, or the back of a horse or donkey. And you would then have taken with you bread to satisfy your hunger and water to quench your thirst along the way. For you might have traveled over barren country where no one lived and where no food or drink could be found.
… I once spent about nine months in Zabul in the region of Seistan, in the eastern part of Iran. You can find it in the map, Zabul is about twenty-five miles from the border of Afghanistan, a country into which at that time Christian missionaries were not permitted to enter. I knew I could not go into this land, but I thought I might at least go to the border and look across into Afghanistan. For it was my hope that I might one day enter and tell the people about Jesus Christ. So I decided that before returning, to Meshed, I would go as close as I could to this closed land.
There was no regular road between Zabul to the border, only a path for camels and donkeys, and no one lived in this desolate region.
… we mounted our donkeys and started on our way to Zabul. In the afternoon the sun was hot and we were tired from our long journey. We were dozing as we rode slowly on our donkey along the path. I in front and Hasan behind. Suddenly, a man came out of the bushes just in front of me and began to walk on ahead of me. I like to be friendly with people I meet, so I called out to him “Salaam!”
….. So I prayed that God would tell me what to say. ….
So as I rode along on the donkey while he walked some distance ahead of me, I said to him something like this: “My friend, you and I are travelers, passing through this desolate country, and we hope to reach our homes safely this evening. We well know that if a traveler is to reach his home, at least four things are necessary: a road, light, bread and water. Without this path we are following, we would lose our way and never reach our homes. But even when there is no light from the sun or the moon, we could easily get off the road and get lost in the jungle and perish. We also need bread to give us strength, and both you and I have with us food that we can eat when we get hungry. Then with new strength we will go on our way. And, finally, we need water. Since there are no springs or streams of water along our road, we have brought with us sufficient water to quench our thirst and refresh us. So we have these four things necessary for our journey, a road, light, bread and water, and with God’s help we will reach our homes tonight.
“Now,” I continued, “what I have been saying is a parable and it has a spiritual meaning. For we are both on another journey — the journey of life. We came into this world; we are now passing through it and we hope when we die to go to our true and everlasting home in heaven. If we wish to make this spiritual journey safely and happily, we need those same four things I spoke of: a road, light, bread and water. You think I am a Christian, do you not? Yes, and I believe in Jesus Christ. You Muslims consider him a great prophet, and you know he always spoke the truth.
“Let me tell you some of the things Jesus said. He once said, “I am the way, no one comes th the Father, but by me [John 14:6]. Jesus claimed to be the one true way to God. Since I have faith in him, I have a road, which I have been following since I was a child. It is a very good road, and it leads straight to God and to the heavenly home. So I am not lost; I am on the right road, and I am sure if I follow it I will reach home at last.
“Jesus also said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” [John 8:12]. Jesus is my light and he always makes my way bright. I will not stumble and fall in the darkness or lose the way, for I can see where I am going. His light shines in my heart and makes me happy as I travel along. So, you see, I have both a road and light for my journey.
“I also spoke about the need for bread. Jesus once said, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger [John 6:35]. When we eat wheat bread, it satisfies our bodies for a few hours, and then we get hungry again. But Jesus satisfies the hunger of our hearts. He is himself heavenly bread. And when we take him into our minds and hearts, he gives us new life and strength, and we are able to go on our journey to the very end. I have been feeding on this true bread all my life. It is very good and gives strength to my spirit. I know I will not get tired and fall down but will be able to reach my heavenly home.
“The fourth thing that is needed for the journey is water to refresh the traveler when he gets thirsty. And Jesus gives not only bread but also water. He said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. … Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst again [John 7:37; 4:14]. This promise also is true, for I have drunk this water of life, and it has quenched my spiritual thirst. When I have been sad or discouraged, the water that Jesus gives has refreshed me and made me glad.
“So you see, my friend, that I have in Jesus Christ everything that I need for the journey of life: a road, light, bread and water. What else do I need? Why should I believe in anyone else?” ….
When the man heard this, he replied in a friendly tone,” You have spoken the truth.” … I got off my donkey, told Hasan to bring it along behind and went forward and joined my fellow traveler. For several hours we walked together along the path through the bushes. Since, he was now willing to listen, I told him the wonderful story of the life of Jesus Christ — that he was born of Mary, became a great teacher of God’s truth, healed the sick, and loved the people of all the world so much that he gave his life to save them from their sins. I told him that he came to life again on the third day after his crucifixion and that after forty days he went to heaven, where he is today. I told the man that Jesus is with all who believe in him at all times and that he will some day come again to raise the dead to life and to be the judge of all the people fo the world.
The man listened with great interest. Finally he stopped and said to me, “I live just over here. Come and spend the night with me.”
“Thank you very much,” I replied, “you are most kind. But it is getting late, and I must hasten on to Zabul tonight. Please excuse me and let me go on my way.”
He gave his consent, and I said a prayer for him. He then went off into the bushes towards his home, and I got on my donkey and traveled along with Hasan till we reached Zabul in safety. I never saw my fellow traveler again. But I hope he followed the Way and walked in the Light and ate the Bread and drank the Water of life of which I told him. If he did so, he will surely reach the heavenly home at last. And so will you and I if we trust in Jesus.
— William McElwee Miller, Tales of Persia, 1979, 2005, P&R Publishing Company, pg 48-54
Jesus revealed Himself through His “I am” in the book of John, and the signs He peformed.
A guide to share who Jesus is with others.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 8:12 (NIV)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 10:7, 9 (NIV)
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture
John 10:11, 14,15 (NIV)
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
John 11:25 (NIV)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;
John 14:6 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
“Christianity is not a system of philosophy, nor a ritual, nor a code of laws, it is the impartation of a divine vitality.
Without the way there is no going
without the truth there is no knowing
without the life there is no living”
— Merrill Tenney
John 15:1,5 (NIV)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 8:23 (NIV)
23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
John 14:11 (NIV)
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
John 4:25,26 (NIV)
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—
I am he.” (the Messiah, Christ)
John 4:41,42 (NIV)
And because of his words many more became believers.
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said;
now we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
John 6:2 (NIV)
and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw
the signs he had performed by healing the sick.
John 8:28 (NIV)
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man,
then you will know that I am he
and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me
John 8:57, 58 (NIV)
“You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!
John 10:36-38 (NIV)
what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?
Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?
Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father.
But if I do them, even though you do not believe me,
believe the works, that you may know and understand that
the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
John 10:30 (NIV)
I and the Father are one
Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy,
because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
John 14:28 (NIV)
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away
and I am coming back to you.
John 18:3-6 (NIV)
3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said.
(And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)
When Jesus said, “I am he,”
they drew back and fell to the ground.
At the end of John gospel, John concluded,
But these are written
that you may believe
that Jesus is the Messiah,
the Son of God,
that by believing
you may have life in his name.
John 10:31 (NIV)
Previous blogpost – The names of God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit in the Bible
by 林弟兄, bro Lim
June 15, 2016
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