May 23 – Thoughts About God For My Grandkids

May 23

 

Bible Reading: John 8:37-59

 

Topic Summary:

 

If Jesus was God…why didn’t He just say so.  Well, actually He did.  In fact, He actually used God’s name for Himself…we just don’t see it in our English translations.  But make no mistake about it…the Jews heard Him loud and clear.  As my friend used to say, “Let me learn you somethin’.”

 

Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:

 

Let’s imagine that you are a field trip with your school in Washington, D.C.  You are there to see the President of the United States make a speech.  He walks out onto a platform and around him you see several men that are dressed in dark suits, white shirts, dark ties, wearing sunglasses, and have ear buds.  They never smile.  They look right to left, back and forth…scanning the crowd.  And, they seem to be talking into thin air…or, is that a microphone on that ear bud?  Wait a minute!  I’ve seen these guys before.  That’ Will Smith from Men in Black.  Or, no, wait…I cannot believe my eyes…it’s James Bond, 007.  Well, actually, while they may look something like them…it’s not.  But those guys are just as cool.  They are members of the Secret Service.  And they are there to protect the President.

The Secret Service was officially organized on April 14, 1865 by President Abraham Lincoln.  That date should ring a bell in you mind…because it was on that very day that John Wilkes Booth shot and killed President Lincoln later that night while he was at the theater.  Originally, the Secret Service was organized (not long after the end of the American Civil War) as part of the U.S. Department of Treasury to help stop the counterfeiting of money.  Gradually, their responsibilities increased.  Then, in 1901, after the assassination of President William McKinley (the third sitting President to be assassinated)…they were given the responsibility to protect the President.  The President receives about 1,500 death threats each year.

So, how many agents are there in the Secret Service?  Almost 7,000.  About 3,200 work in 150 offices in the U.S. and around the world.  Around 1,300 of those agents are members of the Uniformed Division, responsible for providing protection to the White House.

Beginning when Harry Truman was President (33rd President, 1945-1953), the Secret Service has used code names for the President, his family, special guests, and even buildings and vehicles.  This became necessary because of the danger of spies listening in on private conversations.  Here are some of those names…

 

Secret Service Code Names

for places…

Angel                President’s jet (Air Force One)

Stagecoach     President’s car

Castle               White House

Punch Bowl     Capital Building

for people (visitors)…

Napoleon         Frank Sinatra

Halo                  Pope John Paul II

Headache        Roger Clinton

Smurfette          Karenna Gore

Unicorn             Prince Charles

for Presidents…

Lancer              John F. Kennedy

Lacy                  Jackie Kennedy

Searchlight      Richard Nixon

Starlight            Pat Nixon

Passkey            Gerald Ford

Pinafore            Betty Ford

Deacon             Jimmy Carter

Dancer              Rosalynn Carter

Rawhide           Ronald Reagan

Rainbow           Nancy Reagan

Timberwolf       George H.W. Bush

Tranquility        Barbara Bush

Eagle                Bill Clinton

Evergreen        Hillary Clinton

Trailblazer        George W. Bush

Tempo              Laura Bush

Renegade        Barack Obama

Renaissance         Michelle Obama

Mogul                Donald Trump

Muse                 Melania Trump

I wonder, what would be my Secret Service Code Name?  What would yours be?

 

We find a kind of code name used in the Bible.  The Old Testament was originally written in the language of the Jews, which was Hebrew.  Later, it was translated into the Greek language and was called the Septuagint, or LXX (translated between the 3rd-1st centuries B.C.).

In Hebrew, the name by which God identified Himself to Moses (Exodus 3:13-15) was “Yahweh”, or “Jehovah” (those are two ways of writing it in English according to the way that it sounds in Hebrew).  It means, “the self-existent, or eternal one”.  When the translators came to this passage in Exodus, they translated God’s name into Greek as, “ego eimi”…which means, “I I Am” (we talked about this a couple of months ago, March 8, Mark 12:1-27).  It was their attempt to accurately translate the meaning of the Hebrew name into Greek.  Like the Hebrew name, “Jehovah”, the Greek name, “I I Am”, also speaks of the self-existent, eternal nature of God.  During the lifetime of Jesus, this Greek translation of the Old Testament was widely used.  And God’s name in the translation was, “ego eimi”…“I I Am”.  When English translators (such as the King James Bible and the New American Standard Bible) came to “ego eimi”…they too used a simple translation that communicates the meaning of the name and wrote, “I am”.

Once again, the Pharisees, some of the Jewish religious leaders, were questioning Jesus…trying to trick Him into saying something that they could use to accuse Him of breaking their laws.  Jesus tells them that He says, or does, nothing other than what the Father tells Him.  Then, He tells them that they do the same thing…only, their father is Satan.  That went over real good!  Now they are really upset and start calling Jesus names…”You’re a Samaritan and you are demon possessed!”  Finally, Jesus told them that they should treat Him like their ancestor Abraham did.  He knew about Him and looked forward to His coming.  They laughed at Jesus and said that would be impossible because He wasn’t even 50-years-old yet, and Abraham had died 2,000 years before…”Come on, Jesus.  How stupid can You be?  Ha, ha, ha!”  That’s when it happened.  Jesus explained how it was possible for Abraham to have known Him even 2,000 years before…it was because of Who He really was…”ego eimi”, ”I I Am”.  Jesus told them that Abraham knew Him because He was alive when Abraham was alive because He was, “I I Am”…Jesus used God’s name for Himself…Jesus was saying that He was God.  Oh, no there must have been some mistake, some misunderstanding, some miscommunication.  That’s not what He really said, or really meant.  Yes, it was.  It was exactly what He said and exactly what He meant.  And the Jews knew it…and started picking up stones to throw at Him in order to kill Him…because He had committed blasphemy (someone claiming to be God).

That was the code name for God…”ego eimi”, ”I I Am”.  Jesus knew it.  Jesus used God’s name for Himself.  The Jews knew it and were going to kill Him…right there, and right then.  But very quickly…Jesus slipped out of their sight and out of the Temple.

Now, here is the thing to remember.  Jesus made it absolutely, perfectly, undeniably, irrefutably (can I think of any more big words?) clear what He was saying.  He was saying that He is God.  If He had not meant that…then He had the opportunity to clear it up and tell them what He did mean.  But He didn’t do that.  Why?  Because that is what He meant…and everyone who heard Him knew it, as well.  So, you and I know that God became man, human, when Jesus was born.  God invaded our space.  He came into our realm of existence, the physical realm.  Why?  Two reasons.  One, so that He could understand life from our perspective, from a human perspective.  He lived life like we live life.  Two, so that He could pay the price for our sin by dying on the cross…and yet, provide the means for eternal life by rising from the dead.  From now on…when you pray…you can be confident that Jesus (I I Am) understands what you are going through.  And, that He is powerful enough to do something about it (after all, what is more powerful, more to be feared, than death…and Jesus conquered death).  Pray to Him.  Tell it all to Him.  And then, by faith, expect to experience His answer.  He can do whatever is needed…because He is, “I I Am”!

 

Love you more than bunches and bunches,

Granddad

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