When Billy and I were choosing names for our boys…we had a baby book that listed all the baby names and their meanings. Even though I was a bit more serious and Billy was way more playful… throwing out ridiculous and absurd names by the way…we certainly had a lot of fun and shared some good laughs trying to choose names for our children.
We decided to name our first born Connor. I was leaning toward the name Connor more than Billy until I shared its meaning with him. Connor means “wise” and “hound-lover.” “Wise” is always good but I knew that Billy would consider it more once he heard it meant “hound lover” because he loves dogs so much! And so…Connor it was.
We named our second son Bryce. Bryce really stood out to us and barely had any competition. The name Bryce means “ambitious”…which is certainly a great character trait to have. And so… Bryce it was!
We have found it so fascinating that our kids have personalities that actually exemplify these meanings. Connor is a very cautious and wise boy (not sure about the “hound-lover”…maybe more like a “hound-liker”) and Bryce is…no doubt…an ambitious little boy!
Now many times when we as parents name a child…we don’t have the power or the authority to make the child fit the name. We can certainly give names in the hope and prayer that our children will become what their names imply…which surprisingly did happen with our boys…at least for now! …As they are only 6 and 4 years old!
So why are we talking about names?
Because names are very significant in the Bible. A person’s name signifies his character… ability…or mission…especially when the name is given by God.
How many of you know there is a big difference when we name someone…and when God names someone?! Check this out…
God changed Abram’s name to Abraham (Genesis 17:5).
God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah (Genesis 17:15).
God changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32:28).
And when the Son of God came into the world, His name was not left to chance…
“You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
God is very intentional when He names people.
Because…unlike us…God has the right and the power to cause anyone He names to become what the name implies. The names He gives are sure indicators of the destiny of those He names.
And there is great significance when God names…not just others…but also Himself.
When God names himself…we can be sure the name is packed with who He is and what He intends to do. God does not choose names for Himself at random…say for the way it sounds or for an ancestor or to avoid embarrassing nicknames.
He chooses names for the sake of revealing things about Himself that will deepen our love for Him…enlarge our admiration…and strengthen our faith.
Knowing the names of God helps us trust him more in our lives.
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10 NIV
The following passage in Exodus 3:13-15 is the only place in the Old Testament where God explains His name…
But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” God replied to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob–has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations. Exodus 3:13-15 NLT
This phrase “I Am” may seem a bit confusing…but there is great importance in God’s names!
What does it exactly mean when God says “I Am”?
The name “I Am” in Hebrew is Yahweh. We may also know it as Jehovah.
This is the most sacred and precious name of God. It is used in the Old Testament among His people often associated with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is usually signified in the Old Testament with the word LORD written in capital letters.
It means that God is self-existent…He was not created. It signifies that God had no beginning and will never have an end. He has all power and has no limitations.
And Jesus often affirmed His equality with God, the Father…especially to the unbelieving Jewish leaders. This signifies that Jesus too can refer to himself as “I Am.”
“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30 NIV
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” John 8:58 NASB
Ok…so how does knowing what “I Am” means help us trust Jesus more?
Jesus made seven “I Am” statements in the book of John to support his deity and explain His purpose for coming to earth.
I Am…the Bread of Life.
“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:35 NASB
Jesus is saying…I will meet your needs. I will sustain you. I am sufficient.
I Am…the Light of the World.
“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12 NASB
Jesus says…I will guide you so you’ll never need to stumble in darkness. I will light the path ahead of you so you can see how to live. I will let my light shine through you.
I Am…the Door.
“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9 NASB
Jesus is saying…I am the door…step through the door and you will have eternal life. I will give you access to safety and security if you enter through the Me.
I Am…the Good Shepherd.
“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. John 10:14-15 NASB
Jesus is saying…I will take care of you. I will provide for you. I will protect you.
I Am…the Resurrection and the Life
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies…” John 11:25 NASB
Jesus is saying… I will give you spiritual life over death if you believe in Me…because I have the power over life and death.
I Am…the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6 NASB
Jesus is saying…I am the only living way to the Father.
As the way, I am the path to the Father. As the truth, I am the reality of all God’s promises. As the life, I join my divine life to yours both now and eternally.
I Am…the Vine.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NASB
Jesus says…I will provide you nourishment and life if you stay close to me…like a branch attached to the vine.
Important Note: Jesus says “I Am”! He doesn’t say…“I Was”…or “I Will Be”.
“I Am” is in the present tense.
He is all of this… the bread of life…the light of the world…the door…the good shepherd…the resurrection and the life…the way, the truth and the life…the vine…and so much more…for us in the present…this very instant! RIGHT NOW!
We cannot improve upon this name. We can’t add to it or change it to make it any better!
He is I Am…He wasn’t created. He had no beginning and has no end…He has all power and no limitations.
Whatever your need is today…God is the great “I Am”! Let’s trust Him more today in our lives!
1.Why is studying God’s names important?
2. What does it exactly mean when God says “I Am”?
3. What are the seven “I Am” statements made by Jesus in the Book of John and what do they mean for us today?
1. Studying and understanding God’s names will help us trust him more in our lives. God’s names reveal things about Himself that will deepen our love for Him…enlarge our admiration…and strengthen our faith.
2. “I AM” means that God is self-existent…He was not created. It signifies that God had no beginning and will never have an end. He has all power and has no limitations.
3. Study and review the seven “I AM’ statements made by Jesus to encourage you to trust Him more in your life today.