Matthew: Day 15

Jesus Is the Son of God

by

Today's Text: Matthew 13:53-58, Matthew 14:1-36, Deuteronomy 8:3, Isaiah 43:10-13

Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:53-58, Matthew 14:1-36, Deuteronomy 8:3, Isaiah 43:10-13

“Have courage! It is I.”

When we read these words in Matthew 14:27, from the viewpoint of our modern context, it’s easy to miss their significance. It’s easy to dismiss them as a much needed encouragement, and little more. The disciples, after all, are frightened. They are stranded in a boat, far from shore, their vessel “buffeted by the waves.” Jesus “goes out to them,” walking across the water, which only stokes their fears more (vv.24-25).

To calm their anxieties, Jesus says, “It is I,” clarifying who He is. And immediately, Peter recognizes his teacher.

The climax of the story would seem to come later, when Peter joins Jesus in the waves. But the truth is, this verse is a bombshell. Jesus is making a statement of cosmic proportions, so it’s important not to miss what is happening.

In these five short words, Jesus is not merely identifying Himself, not in the usual way. This statement is not like announcing yourself at your parents’ back door: “It’s me! Just popping by!” Instead Jesus is making a monumental claim, one that Matthew’s Jewish listeners certainly would have noticed. Jesus is not just identifying Himself as the man they know and love. He is identifying Himself as God.

“It is I”—translated from the Greek words ego eimi, which literally means “I am”—is a clear reference to an Old Testament story. Thousands of years earlier, God identified Himself to Moses in exactly the same way (Exodus 3:14). Theologian Stanley Hauerwas explains, “Just as God names himself to Moses in the burning bush, Jesus identifies himself as ‘I am.’ This is the ‘I am’ of Psalm 77:19, the ‘I am” who provides a way through the sea, a path though the mighty waters.”  

In other words, Jesus isn’t simply identifying Himself in the midst of the storm; He is identifying His place in human history. Jesus is not just another prophet. He is not just another priest. He is not just another rescuer. He is not just another king. Jesus is no ordinary “good person” who loves God and happens to know a lot about Scripture. Jesus is God Himself, the God who delivered the Israelites and parted the Red Sea. He is the God who is more than able to command the threatening waves below Him.

It’s an audacious claim, blasphemous even, had it not been true. And it’s a claim that continues to assert its power over our storms today, promising that Jesus is not simply with us, but as God of the universe He is reigning over all creation. We are guaranteed both the intimate presence of the Son, and the almighty authority of the Father.

Both then and now, we have this comfort and this truth. Jesus is not just our teacher, not just a good example, and not just a friend. Instead He declares, “It is I”:

I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I am the God of Moses—the God who heard my people cry, and delivered them. I am the God who sees, who knows, and who cares. I am capable and faithful, steady and good. I am not the God who was, or the God who will be; I am the God who is—unchanging, unshakeable, unfailingly compassionate and near.

And I, Jesus, have another name: I AM.

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Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, mom, and she holds a PhD on women and calling. She blogs at SheWorships.com, and is the author of Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You.

  • Suzi Goodman

    Thank you Jesus!! Thank you that you are with me today, the almighty creator of the universe is with me today! Help me not to doubt Lord, I want to trust you fully with everything that lies ahead today!

  • This devotional was so meaningful to me I shared it with my mom who was equally blessed. Yet another reminder that I know in whom I have believed.

  • Lindsey Bailey

    Sometimes, I feel like more of a hometown doubter. I’ve been on the Christian scene sense waving my arms and singing Father Abraham in children’s church. I’m sure the comfort easily turns to complacency or worse yet doubt and offense. Thinking I know the God of Father Abraham, but in reality He is that and much more. He is the Great I Am. I miss the revelation because of the comfortable long-time relation. Lord, give me fresh vision to see that You are the Great I Am. Remove the pride in my heart. You are all that I need. All that I lack. You are my sufficiency. My present help in time of need. You are the love my heart cannot possess on it’s own. You are light when all I see is dark. You are calm when I feel storm. Jesus, You are the Great I Am.

    • Janine

      Lindsey, I always look forward to reading your comments. It adds so much to my understanding and gives me something to chew on through the day. I am a little behind in the lessons, but please let me know which book you will be reading after Matthew so I can continue to be blessed by your insight.

  • This verse is an amazing reminder for me in times of worry or undesirable situations that…
    1. Jesus comforts us (don’t be afraid)
    2. Jesus tells us what to do (take courage)
    3. Reminds us who he is (I am)
    Amen!

  • KC Derond

    I sometimes read about Jesus and forget that He’s no “ordinary person” who loves God and knows a lot about scripture. I see Him so often as just someone who knows the Word of God inside and out. It’s so nice to be reminded that “I am.” I never connected the passages between “It is I” and “I am.”
    Also, when Peter begins to sink, the Bible says Jesus “immediately” reached out His hand and caught him. That part stuck out to me: without a second thought, Jesus saved him. It’s a strong reminder that He never lets us out of his grasp; He will never hesitate to catch us when we fall!

  • Gretchen Gibbs

    Have courage! It is I! My God and My Savior will be with me through the storms of this life – unchanging, unfailing, unshakable, always compassionate and always near. I am overwhelmed by this truth!

  • Michaela Spence

    In this life, I need more than the bread I can supply myself, I need the true and living word of God. WOW! What an incredible and moving passage. Sharon did this passage justice and moved me to tears.

  • Ann Hedberg

    I thought this was incredibly powerful! I love it!

  • Allison Nolan

    Just like the Lord rescued Peter in his lack of faith, from his sinking, God rescues us too. What a great reminder to not loose sight of God and get distracted by the world around us. We will surely sink. But the great thing is, even if we do sink, God is there to pull us up. All we have to do is call out to Him.

  • Courtney Osborne

    I love everything about this. I love how Jesus needed time to himself once in a while, to work things through, just as I do sometimes. I will remember this verse the next time I’m afraid, doubtful or anxious. Take heart! It is I! Do not be afraid.

  • Glenda Alonzo

    I love how Jesus keeps revealing Himself more and more to me and countless others through this study. Thank you Jesus for being so gracious and mercifully to me. I pray that my heart always be teachable and receptive to the Word of God.

  • Verse 31 “And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him.” Immediately! Our God is never late in our rescue. He is always on time.

  • Kirsten LaShure

    I think it’s nice to see that certain traditions date back to Jesus’ time. I always wondered why people feasted after the death of a loved one. I know for comfort, but it’s cool to see that even Jesus held a feast.

  • Wow I truly just learned something new today… It is, I. Thank you Jesus!

  • Nicole Harrison

    I AM. I praise you.

  • I never realized the context of the feeding of the 5,000 (plus women and children ;) was people following Jesus out where he was grieving John.

  • Lindsey Baker

    How simple words mean so much!

  • Kasey Summers

    “I am” is Savior, Teacher, Lord over all!! Healer of my life!

  • Allison Joy

    I also have near heard this story explained this way, and it gives context to the rest of the story. Peter gets out of the boat because he realizes, perhaps for the first time, that his beloved teacher is God himself in human form. And then when Jesus climbs into the boat, all the disciples confirm. Truly this is God’s son… the promised Messiah.

  • Lina Klein

    My heart goes out to him. Grieving the loss of John while feeding thousands. I am a whiny baby too often! God, give me strength to be strong for others instead of focusing on myself.

  • Leah Smith

    Wow! This was overwhelmingly powerful. I’m coming to the realization today that I cannot continue on being complacent, ignoring God’s call and living in fear. The statement “Have courage…it is I” is so incredibly powerful and awe-inspiring when you consider the fact that this is the God of the universe that has control over everything and holds your future in His hands.

  • Carol Ames

    I have read this scripture for years and like she said skipped over the important part. “I AM”. Wow

  • Lauren Cissel

    Loved how she took time to unpack scripture so that we could really understand the significance of this passage…of this moment! I love when the old and testament are tied together so you can see the fulfillment of Jesus in so many aspects! Thank you for this!

  • Ryann Cox

    What a fantastic devotional. These types are my favorite, when the author unpacks scripture for us. Thank you!

  • Andrea Durfee

    Yes, that’s exactly what struck me too, Michelle. His amazing compassion while suffering such a tragic loss.

  • This is one of my favorite “I AM” songs. It’s by the City Harmonic: https://youtu.be/tN3K8-y0iDU

    Also, because I am a visual person, I had to look up a video of Peter and Jesus walking on water. To see helps me grasp Jesus announcing who he was to the disciples and Peter demonstrating his faith. https://youtu.be/zETPEbrrPyo

    Jesus is calling me to walk out on the water and trust him in so many areas of my life. The biggest one being my health. I am facing a fight with cancer that just doesn’t seem to want to go away. God says I will be victorious and beat this. I just have to step out of the boat and trust him, knowing that if I fall, Jesus will immediately be there to rescue me. I can’t look at the waves and wind; I must keep my eyes on Jesus at all times. Thank you for this reminder today. I need not be afraid; Jesus will always be with me.

  • Jasmine Schulze

    This has pieced together parts of my heart that have been unable to see Jesus as more than a spiritual teacher and good example

  • Wow… The God who heard the cries of an entire people and delivered them did the same for me. Last year was SO hard, and as low as that time was, this season is high.

  • Jennifer Vaughn-Estrada

    Interesting. I never considered that this could be an “I am” statement. Translations tend to hide it, I guess, like the occurrence in John when Jesus speaks with the Samaritan woman.

  • Kelly Chataine

    Triune God!

    • Deborah Craytor

      Yes! Just this morning, I was struggling with the competing descriptions I have been reading about how we should approach God. Some emphasize that He is our friend and that we should feel free to bring to Him any concern or thought, no matter how minor. Others emphasize that He is the Creator of the universe, entitled to awe and respect. Both of these felt true, but how to reconcile them?

      Then I read this: “We are guaranteed both the intimate presence of the Son, and the almighty authority of the Father.” That’s it; although our God is a triune God, encompassed fully within each of the aspects of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each aspect turns a different face to us. So, when I pray to Jesus, whether directly or to intercede on my behalf with the Father, a more conversational approach is acceptable, but when I pray directly to the Father, I need to show Him the respect He is due.

      • Kelly Chataine

        Truth!

      • Heather Joy

        And yet in Exodus, there are numerous accounts of God having intimate conversations with Moses. Exodus 33:10 “the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend”. So we can definitely come to God and talk to him like a friend. To me, this makes it all the more amazing that we can come to God like this since he IS the creator of all.

  • Barbie Oates

    I am in a “storm” myself right now and praying for his hand to steady me and lift me out of it. Heavenly Father, have mercy on me!

  • Andrea Lopez

    Thank you for helping me see this passage differently this morning. Powerful!

  • Mallie Griffin

    This was great! It really got me going this morning even when my large Krispy Kreme coffee failed!! Praise the great I Am!

  • Courtney Cates

    We all should take Jesus words to heart when it comes to our faith. He is always near us through every trial in life.

  • Emily Mayfield

    I never realized that Jesus fed the 5,000 directly after hearing of John the Baptist’s death. It is so powerful to me that Jesus is mourning and his first instinct is to heal.

    • Karen

      Emily, I noticed the same thing. All that heaviness and still He goes on and ministers to the people though His first thought is to get away. His mission…to do the Fathers’s will always!

    • Michelle Deuz

      Emily, that’s what I was thinking as well… man, I just wept this morning when I realized he was grieving the loss of his cousin and then had compassion on those who also were in great need. This wasn’t a “the show must go on” move, he truly allowed his heart to remain present and invest in those around him while grieving. So powerful indeed.

  • “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Words I desperately needed this morning. My husband is facing open-heart surgery. He sees the surgeon tomorrow. To be honest, I am terrified. But God…”I am the God who sees, who knows, and who cares. I am capable and faithful, steady and good. I am not the God who was, or the God who will be; I am the God who is – unchanging, unshakable, unfailingly compassionate and near.”
    He is so good. He knew these were words I desperately needed. Thank-you, Sharon and SRT.

    • Churchmouse

      Continuing to pray for you and your husband. And for the surgeon and all who will be caring for your husband. Asking the Great Physician to make Himself known in an undeniable way for all to see and know. Asking the Prince of Peace to sit right there with you with powerful words of comfort, faith and hope.

    • Kelly

      When my husband was facing a medical crisis several years ago, and again in 2014, We claimed the words from Psalm 20: ‘In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry. May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm. May he send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you from Jerusalem. Give victory to our king, O Lord ! Answer our cry for help. May he remember all your gifts and look favorably on your burnt offerings. Interlude May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers. Now I know that the Lord rescues his anointed king. He will answer him from his holy heaven and rescue him by his great power. Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God. Those nations will fall down and collapse, but we will rise up and stand firm.’Psalms 20:1-9
      Praying for you, for strength to support him, for friends to stand alongside you and pray for his healing.

    • Bessie

      Thank you for the update. I have been praying for you. If you could post a time of the surgery I will pray for you, for your husband and the surgical team.

  • I really enjoyed today’s devotional, I had never before realized that Jesus was actually saying “I AM”, announcing himself as Messiah to the disciples. I also had to smile a little at the very first words in this devotional “have courage.” Over the weekend God has been encouraging me to think about courage and hope and how well I trust Him. If you want to read my thoughts that came from this weekend I have a blog at committedheartmemoirs.wordpress.com

  • Churchmouse

    Prior to reading today’s SRT, I read a news account of Christian martyrdom across our world. It was heartbreaking. The fear and terror so many of our Christian brothers and sisters must face daily. The torture and death of those whose crime is belief in Jesus. “Have courage. It is I. Do not be afraid” impacts me very differently when read following those news accounts. My fears and struggles pale next to theirs. I cannot even imagine. I am greatly humbled today when I pray. Jesus is the great I am for me here in my comfortable home. He is the great I Am for those who tremble in theirs or have no home at all. I am wrestling this morning. There is something He is telling me in this heaviness…

  • Caralee Lilly

    I am learning that those words, have courage “It is I” have been spoken over me over and over again. I’m so grateful that He is always there…good times and bad…when I’m showing faith to walk on water and when I doubt and start to drown. He is unchanging and He is present. HE IS GOD.

  • Today I was struck by how many hard and terrible things happen in our world — in this one passage, there is murder and diseas and hunger and a storm. And Jesus walks in the midst of it all, Man of Sorrows. Healing through tears, withdrawing to be alone. Ministering and loving, and declaring himself to be “I am” over it all. I love being a part of this group of women. Thank you for encouraging me to read scripture and be alone with Him.

  • When we look at the Deuteronomy scripture if you back up to verse 2 you see that the Lord led them into the wilderness so He might humble them, test them, and to know what was in their heart. Hunger humbled them and taught them that life was more than food but that we must live by God’s Word. He was disciplining them. The account with the disciples was purposeful. Jesus directed and sent them into to storm. In verse 22 it says he made them get into the boat. My first thought was Jesus wanted to be alone with the Father but oh what a purpose the sending was for! He sent them into the storm. He humbled them. All of this was so they would learn and know that he was I AM!

  • “It is I!” … How encouraging are those words? There is something so comforting to know that any question or fear from uncertainty can be squelched with that simple statement. The other day my middle daughter was home alone, when I walked through the door, she yelled from another room, “Mom?”, to which I responded, “Yes, it’s me!” and I could hear the tone in her voice change upon that reality. She was comforted that it was a familiar person walking in her home, any concern she had about who was entering was immediately calmed by a simple answer. And I know it the same with Christ, fears and concerns are immediately stilled by the realization of God with us … of the great I Am walking in.

    At present, my family is faced with the reality we will likely need to pick up and move again, unless something miraculous happens. In years past, this never bothered me. I may have had concerns about the place we were moving to but always, in many many moves, accepted the moving, right now, my heart is struggling to fully accept it. This home is one we thought we’d get to stay in, a city we’ve loved, friends a church we’ve loved and a place we could see spending the rest of our lives. In it, my eldest daughter has found a great university and will likely stay behind as we leave … that part, that’s the hardest. To picture leaving her hurts. And while I know, it is our parental goal in life to raise kids to successfully leave the nest, it’s so hard to do, so I sit here, day in and day out prayerful that God reveals more of the picture to me, that He speaks very clearly to me assuring me that this move will be a great one too, that our two other kiddos will be happy, find great friends and be at peace with it, as well, the challenges I worry about are nothing. But the biggest question I have had in it all, is “God, is this where you want us, will you be there?” And while, He hasn’t provided any great signage, easing my heart in this area, this passage reminds me that He is there, that after a year of great hardship for our family, God has provided and that He will bless this move because He is WITH US. Where we go with Him, for Him or because of Him, He will provide the tools, the opportunities. He will calm the irrational storms in my heart and He will walk with me, with us. He’s already provided so much peace for me in that I’ll have to leave a business I created and give up my work when we go, He’s not going to leave me uncomforted in other areas. How astounding that God won’t let us sink, that the great I Am, not only calms our storms, but allows us to walk on the water, we only need to get out of the boat. And so today, my prayer will be just that … to get out of the boat, to not be consumed with concern but to remember, in my concerns, and when fear creeps in that God is there, Jesus is calling me to “come”, even when I can’t “see” Him, He is there, hand outstretched to me, providing the firm foundation I need to walk, one foot in front of the other … I just need to get out of the boat.

    • AliceV

      May the God of the universe, the great I Am, reveal Himself to you today and help you get out of the boat. Praying for you and your family this morning.

    • Jami

      Praying for you and your family that God gives you a full peace!

    • Clarene R.

      We are in very similar situations. This morning when anxiety tried to come rushing in, I told the storms’ waves, “Oh No Not Today!” I read a devotional and after reading the devotional, I started thinking that maybe God is using this storm to build character in me. Satan, the devil is always on the prowl seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). The Holy Spirit dropped in my spirit the story of The Three Little Pigs. These 3 Pigs were determined to protect themselves from the big bad wolf and all decided to build homes. The first pig built his home with straw, and the wolf blew it down. The second pig built his home with sticks, and the wolf blew it down. The third pig built his home with bricks and the wolf huffed and puffed and could not blow his house down.
      Matthew 7:24-27 NLT, reminds us of the importance of building on a solid foundation. When the rains fall, when the floods come and when the wind blows, our houses (foundation) will not fall because we have built our homes (foundation)on the Rock! All I can think and ask in all of this is if God is using these storms to build my foundation in Him. Abba Father, have I been building my life of Christ using straws and sticks? In these various storms, ABBA Father, are You teaching me to build my life with brick, upon the Rock (You and Your Word)?

      Our Father, I pray Ephesians 4:14, that we will no longer be tossed back and forth by the waves and blown by every wind of doctrine. Father, teach us how to build our homes like the wise woman according to Proverbs 14:1. I pray Lord that You will position us where we are suppose to be and divinely align us with our destinies. Lord, remind us that the enemy will come trying to flood us with misery and blow us down with hurt and pain to keep us from fulfilling Your Will, but because of The Blood and what You did at the Cross, we are able to stand On The Rock! Help us Lord, to remain steadfast (1 Corinthians 15:58), especially when we don’t know what else to do and Abba, Father is quiet. I decree and declare that we are unshakable, unmovable and we cannot be devoured!

  • I’ve never realized the magnitude of It is I in this passage….I’ve always viewed it as an identifier –Jesus announcing his presence– love being able to read familiar texts and learn new things.

  • So Jesus had just been rejected in his hometown. He was told that John the Baptist had been beheaded and tried to go off for some quiet time. 5,000 people followed Him, asking for miracles. Not only did he minister to them, but He also took care of their need for food. Again, He tried to have some alone time and needed to rescue His disciples from a storm. The chapter ends with them landing on the opposite shore, only to have many come to Him yet again. I think I have busy and stressful days. How tired He must have been and sad at the death of John. Yet, He continues to minister to those in need.

    I just find it extraordinary that the Everlasting God walks with me and ministers to me. It is so humbling. For a long time I knew in my head that Jesus was God, but it is sinking into my heart in a profound way. I’ve claimed Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” I didn’t feel it in my heart, but I knew it in my head and ‘earnestly sought Him’.

    “We are guaranteed both the initmate presence of the Son and the almighty authority of the Father”. What a precious, precious gift. Thank you, Lord Jesus!

  • Sherry Beals

    “It is I”….such powerful words!

  • Other Karen

    I love reading about a very familiar passage and coming away with a new perspective! Thank you, Sharon! I don’t think I’ve ever heard the connection from the OT “I Am” with this passage before. I appreciate reading this story with fresh eyes and learning something so very powerful!

  • Samantha Ward

    Jesus, thank you for reaching your hand out to us. Thank you for desiring an infinite relationship with us and restoring our salvation. Your caring fingers reach out to us, plucking us out of the sin that drowns us. Lord, you are all powerful and mighty, who are we that you desire us so? Thank you Jesus, for your mercy, your power, your sacrifice, your unending love. Amen!

  • Shannon Oros

    Wow!!! I’ve never noticed this clear identity statement in the book of Matthew, I thought John was the only Gospel that utilized this. How amazing and wonderful is our Lord. He is the God of eternity, and yet is still ever present and with us as well – intimately close while ruling over all. So so good!!! ❤

  • Linda Richards

    Been struggling lately with a proper perspective of how I view Jesus. I tend to see him as all too human (which he was) but this nailed it for me! It is I!!! With all the authority of heaven.

  • Clarene R.

    Thank you Lord. Even in the midst of the storms, You are there! I am coming to an understanding that You are Sovereign, and if You, My Lord allow the storms and if I keep my focus on You, You will anchor me too. As I am reading this devotion, and in the middle of a storm, My Lord spoke through the scripture Matthew 14:27 ESV, Take Heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.

  • This story is one of my favorite stories in the Bible, but I never looked at it this way. So beautiful!! Thank you for showing me this truth!

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