Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.” (Jn 8:58)
People can be most dangerous when they are confused. When confused, they become very agitated. Jesus’ people were very confused and, therefore, very agitated by His words. Many of them had been doing all that they could do to understand Jesus. Many of them truly wanted to understand Him.
His words became harder and harder for them to hear and accept. Particularly the words in today’s Gospel. Jesus began by telling the people that if they believed in Him, they would never see death. They retorted that many of the great prophets had died, that death was a reality of their daily lives. They did not realize that Jesus was speaking about the immortal soul, not the mortal body.
As they argued with and challenged Jesus, he finally proclaimed the words, “I AM”. That did it. “I AM” meant that Jesus was calling Himself God. That, to many present, was intolerable. So intolerable that they grabbed Him to have Him taken away and arrested. But Jesus slipped through their midst. (It would not be long before they caught up to Him again, and when they did, He would be condemned and put to death.)
Jesus IS the great I AM, though. He IS God. That is something that often confuses us as well. We have a hard time understanding who Jesus is and what He wants from us. I think one of the reasons we have so many problems is because Jesus is truly human as well as truly divine. We see and hear and reflect upon the human Jesus. When we do so, we often view Him through our own human eyes and, in doing so, attribute to Him the same things that we see in ourselves.
While Jesus is truly human, He is free from sin. He never sinned. That is what causes many people problems. They find it hard to relate to someone who is perfect in all things and who has never sinned.
Jesus calls us to His perfection. He calls us to be made perfect, as He is perfect. In order to accomplish that, we must walk away from the many things that hinder our perfection. Those are the times we begrudge our calling the most. After all, who wants to change?
However, change, we must.
FAITH ACTION: “Whoever keeps my word will never see death.” Jesus’ words caused a great deal of consternation for His people. Some believed in Him, others were more determined to get rid of Him. What words of the Lord disturb you? Ask God to give you the insight you need this day.