Saturday, December 1, 2012

A review of I AM... Exploring the "I AM" sayings of John's Gospel by Ian D. Campbell

I AM... Exploring the "I am" sayings of John's Gospel by Ian D. Campbell

Publisher description:

"There is none like Christ. None at all! None other is God and man, two natures in one person. None other has the love, grace and heart of Jehovah Jesus. The sight of him is so breath-taking that we turn aside at an opportunity that a glimpse of him affords. We cease looking at the most precious things in the universe to gaze and gaze at him. We know little of him, miserably little. It is our duty and privilege to behold him, and it is the duty and privilege of each of his preachers to show him to us. Sirs, we plead with them, we would see Jesus. Let us contemplate Christ, and let his servants magnify him before us.
So in these studies Dr. Iain D. Campbell does this, making Christ omni-attractive as he sets him out through our Lord's self disclosure, in a series of extraordinary claims Jesus made, to be pre-existent, the only way to God, the food and the vine of heaven, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life. Those are words of a megalomaniac if they are not the words of the incarnate God.
One of the distinctives of John's Gospel is that he records seven sayings of Jesus that are not to be found in the other three gospels, the ‘I am' sayings of Jesus. In them, Jesus introduces us to himself by means of a phrase translated ‘I am', followed by a description of himself."
As mentioned in the description above these statements spoken by Jesus "...are words of a megalomaniac if they are not the words of the incarnate God."   This is exactly Pastor Campbell's point in this book.  He starts by showing in a non-technical, easy to understand way that the phrase "I am" when looked at in the greek is a clear parallel to the I AM statements of Yahweh in the old testament (Exodus 3:14).  Jesus isn't claiming to be a good man, Campbell asserts, he is claiming to be God Himself. 

I was reminded as I read this book of an often quoted statement from C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Reading this book by Pastor Campbell makes it clear, Jesus wasn't a good man.   He was God incarnate, the eternal God, who put on flesh to bring light, life, and salvation to His people.  This is a quick read, written in an easy to understand style, but make no mistake, there is meat here, and a gospel feast.  Pastor Campbell takes these statements and lays out what Jesus is saying and what it means for us as His people.  He asks the question "Who are you Jesus?' and answers that question in Jesus own words in His I am statements here in John.
 The seven statements he covers are:
1. Jesus the bread (John 6:35)
2. Jesus the light (John 8:12)
3. Jesus the door (John 10:9)
4. Jesus the shepherd (John 10:11)
5. Jesus the resurrection (John 11:25)
6. Jesus the way (John 14:6)
7. Jesus the vine (John 15:5)
Here we read of the bread that sinners need for eternal life, the light that comes into our dark world, the only door through which we may walk into and be saved, and read of a loving shepherd who "searches for His sheep, carries His sheep, and pastors His sheep".
We read that Jesus is the resurrection, that He comes into the lives of dead men and raises them to new life!  We read that as our Prophet, Priest, and King that He is the way to life, and lastly that He is the vine, that He prunes and and works in our lives that we bear fruit to glorify His name and testify that we are His.
As I said before, this is a gospel feast, a quick but satisfying look at who Jesus is, and what union with Him does for His people.  It's perfect for individual study and also good for small group study as it has study questions at the end of each chapter.
In the foreword Geoff Thomas says 'Sirs, they plead with them, we would see Jesus!"  In this book by Ian Campbell that has been done, through these pages you will see Jesus.  Highly recommended! 
I received a copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my review.

1 comment:

  1. Alex,

    I was pleased to read you got so much out of the book. Thanks for being a part of the blog tour.

    Shaun Tabatt
    Cross Focused Reviews