I Am God
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Scriptural Readings: Genesis 17:3-9; Psalm 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; John 8:51-59
My dear encountered couples:
The Jewish leaders did not consider Jesus demented. They did not consider him crazy. If they did, they would not have picked up rocks to stone him. On the contrary, they believed he was in his right mind, and when he made himself equal with God, they proceeded to stone him to death for blasphemy as decreed in the Book of Leviticus: “Whoever blasphemes shall be put to death.” (24: l6) This is very important for everyone to note.
If Jesus were out of his mind, the Jewish leaders would only have made jokes and laughed at him, maybe they would have had him committed. They would not have gone to all the trouble of having him crucified. But they considered him quite sane, and serious about what he said. And what he said today struck at the very heart of their faith. What did he say? Basically - “I am God!”
When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, and Moses asked his name, God replied, “I am who am.” “Tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you … This is my title forever.” In our gospel today, Jesus applies that name to himself. When speaking about Abraham, he says, “Before Abraham came to be, I AM.” “At that,” we are told, “they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.”
Jesus was serious about his being equal to God. Though it may sound like an odd name to us, the name “I AM” refers to being eternal — no beginning, no end. Jesus made himself equal to God, often referring to God as his Father. Jesus laid a bombshell on them when he tried to reveal that there was more than one person in God - that there was God the Father and God the Son. Later he would reveal the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
If Jesus were crazy, why do we pay attention to anything he ever said? Why are we here in church now? But we believe he is God. Then hadn’t we better listen to everything he had to say? And abide by it?