I Am

I’ve been wanting to write about last Sunday’s Gospel all week.  Things tend to get busy around here this time of year.

John 8 46-59

46 Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”

48 The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ 53 Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; 55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced [a]to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham [b]was born, I am.” 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus [c]hid Himself and went out of the temple.

There is so much here and every time I sit down to try to suss it out, I always get caught up on I Am.  Two of the most profound words ever spoken.
Exodus 3:14
14 God said to Moses: I AM WHO AM. He said: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.
I have learned about these words before, I believe from Father Barron, but I’m starting to lose track of where and when I have learn what lately.  Now I ask you to bear with me here, because I cannot seem to bring together my thoughts on this into any kind of tangible form.
I hear and read these words, I Am, and they are so profound.  When first hearing them, one sits and waits for the sentence to finish.  We expect more.  What we get is, I Am.  To say it so simply, like it is so obvious, I almost want to believe it comes from a man who is stuffed up on Pride. But these words come from Jesus.  The Man who is both God and Man.
Christ Panocrator

But Jesus himself says,  But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges.  And also, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’ There is no pride, only utter simplicity.  I Am.  I am, always was and will always be.  I am he who is sent by my Father to save you.  I am he who will go up on that cross to suffer and die for you.  I Am. There is so much more!  These are words I think of often, to try to begin to comprehend.  The harder I try the more elusive they seem.  Very occasionally, meaning will slam home and for a moment, I understand.  Only to have the sweetness slip away again. I Am.

The above is a photoshopped version of the Christ Pantocrator which shows Christ’s two distinct natures, called Dyophysitism (I learned this here, from Ann Barnhardt). I’m well aware that this post may have problems.  Many in fact.  It’s been floating around in my head and I needed to get it down as best I could.  It falls amazingly short.  I believe one could spend a life studying these two amazing words and still not reach their full meaning.  Please, rip this apart if it deserves it.  I need to know more.

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10 thoughts on “I Am

  1. From what I understand, when Jesus finished off his sentence with “I Am” He was actually telling the people that He was God, since one of the names they knew God by was I Am. The reason they got so up in arms about Him calling himself I Am is because they thought He was being blasphemous. Little did they know…

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  2. Hmmm, that’s a really good question! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that connection made before. It’s sure worth looking into. I’m curious now…

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  3. FBNF is correct, in that Christ was claiming to be God here. He was claiming the “I am” in all its meaning, and for this the jews called him blasphemous and tried to stone him.

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  4. It’s the “in all its meaning” that I am in awe of. Two very simple words. But uttered by God and by Jesus (and the truth of the Trinity) and those words become everything. I wish I could find the words and the understanding, but I can’t.

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  5. It is simple and awe inspiring. He is. He is everything. Everything made, and everything we need. He is the air in our lung and the breath of life upon our souls. He is the light. He is the glory, a heart of sorrow joyfully opened to us in the sacred heart. He is the King who rode an ass, and then a colt, in glory before the multitudes while on his way to die the death of a thief. He is our rock, our salvation, and the triune God. The alpha, and the omega.

    And all these fall woefully short of the infinite love of God.

    So.

    He is.

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  6. When you think about it, the words “I Am,” if they came from anyone other than God, would be conceit and arrogance of the highest order. I Am, or put another way, I Exist. There is nothing simpler than to exist. And yet there is nothing greater or more profound at the same time. For nothing of this world exists, save that which was created. And nothing can create itself. But God, the Creator Himself, transcends existence, and causality, and time itself. He exists. There is no more potent rebuke to scoffers than His name, for in it is found everything that is, that was, and that shall ever be.

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  7. I realize that my comment broke my pledge to avoid commenting during the rest of Lent, but this seemed a worthy cause to do so. Nor will I repeat it elsewhere.

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  8. Chad,

    Beautiful. Two words that seem, as first blush, to fit in the palm of one’s hand, but in actuality are more than enough to fill one’s soul. To fill every soul.

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  9. When you think about it, the words “I Am,” if they came from anyone other than God, would be conceit and arrogance of the highest order.

    Exactly, and yet, when spoken by the Divine Man Jesus, the two small words become everything. Your’s and Chad’s comments deserve someone more talented with words than me to respond to them. Thank you both for taking the time to leave them.

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