23 March 2021
The disciples were confused by many things that Jesus said to them, but I doubt they were confused by today’s passage. As we progress through this part of John’s Gospel, we’re getting to the “fish or cut bait” part of Jesus’s ministry. Are you with him, or not?
By this point, Jesus, he has turned water into wine (Ch 3). He has encountered the woman at the well (Ch 4). He has cured fevers, (Ch 4) and healed invalids (Jn 5:8). Jesus has walked on water (Jn 6:19). He has even given two of the “I am” statements of John’s Gospel: “I am the bread of life” (Jn 6:35), and “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12).
In today’s gospel, Jesus tells the Jews that he does not belong to this world, and that he was sent by the Father. He refers to himself with the term “I am,” which some scholars (but not all) believe is Jesus’ way of identifying himself as continuous in being with the name that God spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:14 “I am who I am” transliterated to “YHWH.”
We’ll never know for certain whether Jesus referred to himself as YHWH or not. But what theologians see in investigating this part of John’s Gospel, is that Jesus is indeed revealing himself as the Messiah, and “Because he spoke this way, many came to believe him” (Jn 8:30).
C.S. Lewis famously wrote the following about discerning who Jesus is:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
Based on today’s gospel, and your own experience of the Church and the Sacraments, what do you believe? Who do you say that Jesus is?
How did you come to know Jesus as Lord? Spend some time praying lectio divina with today’s Gospel. If it’s available to you, go to Adoration or make time to go this week.