When Moses sent twelve spies out to survey the land of Canaan, two of them came back carrying a pole, each with an end resting on their shoulders. Hanging from the pole were pomegranates, figs and a huge cluster of grapes, showing the abundance of the fruit of the land God had promised the Israelites. The vine becomes a key image that runs throughout the Old Testament, and is today a national symbol of Israel. Author and Bible teacher, Charles Price, concludes his series on the “I Am” statements of Jesus with a portrayal of the true vine, who is Jesus Christ, and an explanation of how our union with Him is what enables us to bear fruit.
The above verse is probably the most controversial statement Jesus made in Scripture. It would be far more acceptable if He had said, “I am a way, I am a truth, I am a life; you may come to the Father through Me,” but Jesus is exclusive about Himself being the only way in which we may come to God. This week, Charles Price, concludes his series on the “I Am” statements of Jesus by presenting an in depth look of what it means for Jesus to be the way, the truth and the life.
Most of us are familiar with the story of Lazarus. He was a good friend of Jesus who was gravely ill. His sisters, Martha and Mary, sent an urgent message to Jesus, saying, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” Jesus loved all three of them, but deliberately delayed his coming and remained in the Jordan Valley two more days. By the time He arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Author and Bible teacher, Charles Price, explains Jesus’ seemingly passive reaction by bringing to light a two fold dimension to this story in which there is a problem with a hidden purpose, but also a problem that reveals a power.
For many people, their favourite image of Jesus is that of a shepherd, surrounded by His flock of sheep, perhaps one draped over His shoulders. It conjures a warm, protective picture of Him, and brings to mind one of the most loved passages in all of Scripture. “The LORD is my shepherd. I shall not be in want” (Psalm 23:1). This, however, was not the way the Pharisees saw it. Author and Bible teacher, Charles Price, tells us about a double-edged blasphemy, which led Jesus to the cross, but as the ‘Good Shepherd’, He is the life that gives us life.
There is a common myth that says all religions are basically the same. They boil down to the brotherhood of man, the sisterhood of women and the fatherhood of God. It presents the idea that we are all climbing up different paths of the same mountain. Though experiences vary for each religion going up their separate path, we all end up at the same place at the top of the same mountain, and it makes little difference which path we take. This is simply not true of Scripture.
Jesus made the above statement the morning after the Feast of Tabernacles ended. This was an eight day celebration where people came from all over to Jerusalem. They pitched tents and made shelters in the streets to celebrate the harvest and the birth of the nation of Israel. An event occurred that morning which demonstrates the love and compassion of God when we stand humbly before Him. Through this incident, Charles Price gives us a deeper understanding of how Jesus takes us out of a darkened world and into the light of who He is.
Christianity does not make sense until we know that Jesus Christ is Himself the substance of the Christian life. In John’s Gospel, Jesus makes a number of “I Am” statements, which sets Him apart from any other religious leader. This week, Charles Price begins a new series in which he explains the provision Jesus makes for us in His “I Am” statements, and our participation in how we respond, which will determine our enabling to live the life God created us for.