Heathdale flower 31st October 2019

Please Explain

Sometimes we need a helping hand to understand; whether it's a pattern for a cable knit jumper or God's eternal name 'I AM who I AM'

Heathdale flower

My wife, Sue, has recently taken up knitting again. As she was talking me through a particularly challenging pattern, I had an awful flash back to a time when I was training as a Primary School Teacher. I had enrolled in a subject called, ‘Language, Teaching and Learning’, a core subject with a focus on how children learn to read.

It was a fascinating subject. We learned how the brain and eyes work in unison to recognise squiggles and marks on a page as letterforms. And that when a group of letters are arranged in a specific order they created words, and with a collection of words, sentences could be formed. Of course, learning this wasn’t what traumatised me! This particular day the class was focused on why children have difficulty learning to read. To illustrate her point the lecturer put the following slide up:

Using US #3/3.25mm needle, CO 128[140, 164] sts. Divide sts evenly between needles so that there are 64[70, 82] sts on each needle. Set-up Round: Using first US #3/3.25mm needle, [k2, p1] 7[7, 8] times, k2, place marker, [k2, p1] 13[15, 18] times, k2; work sts on second needle in the same way using second US #3/3.25mm needle.

My initial response was: 'What sort of strange language is that?' Precisely at that moment the lecturer called out my name, asked me to stand and read what was on the screen. I attacked the first line with all the gusto of a freight train only to come to screeching halt on the next line. I then returned to my seat, totally confused. That was traumatic! The lecturer apologised to me. As I was the only male in the tutorial group, I was the obvious ‘target’ for this exercise. My lecturer was sure I wouldn’t have recognised the above transcript as an excerpt from a knitting pattern! She commented that it was interesting to note that all the females in the tutorial recognised it as a pattern straight away. The lecturer then asked if anyone understood the knitting instruction; to which one of the female students replied, “It’s a cable stitch jumper.”

I understood that the collection of numbers, letters and words were a pattern, yet I still had no idea what these meant. If I wanted to become a knitter, I would need someone’s help to understand what these numbers and lines meant.

A few days later I came across the following passage in the Bible from the New Testament book of John. It made me realise that occasionally we don’t always understand straight away what we read and we need someone to help us gain a deeper understanding. This is exactly what Jesus did for His followers in the passage below.

“This figure of speech Jesus used but they did not understand what He was saying to them. So, Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” – John 10:5-11

To understand the full significance of Jesus’ words, we need to cast our minds back to the Old Testament when God met His servant Moses at the burning bush. In that encounter with God, Moses asked God to reveal to him His name, and that is exactly what God did! However, the name, when it was first pronounced, appeared to be vague and confusing. God simply said, “I AM who I AM!” The name seemed to go out like a boomerang, and double back on itself: “I AM who I AM!” This great name of God never seemed to have a clear definition. The nearest interpretation that linguists and scholars could come up at the time was, ‘The ever present One.’ This is where it stayed until Jesus began His ministry on earth.

In the passage that is recorded in John 10, we find Jesus taking this great name of God, which seemed so nebulous, and linking it to simple everyday objects such as a gate. “I AM the gate,” why would Jesus say this? Jesus wasn’t denigrating this special name of God’s but rather bringing clarity to us. It might not have been possible for the Old Testament saints to fully understand the meaning of the majestic title God revealed to Moses, “I AM who I AM” but now, because of Jesus, all of this has changed! Jesus takes this name that seems vague and gives it clarity by stating He is the “door”, (I AM the door” – John 10:7) a “shepherd” (I AM the good Shepherd” – John 10:11), a “light” (I AM the Light” John 8:12), the way (“I AM the way” – John 14:6) and so forth.

It is through Jesus the great name of God, I AM, can be fully understood. Jesus’ explanation enables us to understand that He is the only way by which mankind can know and understand God. How blessed are we to now be able to understand this significant name of God? The Lord Jesus has clarified and explained this so that we can have a deeper understanding of God. No wonder we stand in awe of our Lord and offer to Him our gratitude and praise. He was able to explain.