March 31, 2020
So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him. Jn_8:21-30
By speaking in this way, any Jew who knew anything of the Scriptures would have understood what Jesus was saying. For they held great esteem for Moses. And Moses himself reported, in his obstinate attempts to escape God’s call: Moses said to God, “if I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what do I tell them?” God replied to Moses: “I am who I am.” Then he added: “This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” Ex_3:13-14
Thus, the Jewish leaders, especially, knew EXACTLY what Jesus was saying. But they refused to accept the fact that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah. And for this reason, Jesus said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” You see what an absolutely ridiculous question this was, coming from the Pharisees. Moses was their whole life and yet they refused to recognize his own words. So, Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.” Jn_8:21-30
Not from the beginning of His ministry, but from the beginning of time, God IS!
Jesus spoke of being lifted up in this Scripture. In our first reading from the Book of Numbers, Nm_21:4-9, Moses references lifting up a snake on a pole for the healing of the Israelites in their Exodus. Jesus similarly was lifted up on the cross for the healing of the world. (Jesus was also lifted up from the grave in His resurrection and lifted up from the ‘world’ in His ascension.)
In the crucifixion, the persecuting Jews were not relieved of their riddance of an annoyance, they were instead, weighted down by their error in killing the God they supposedly believed in (but really didn’t). In reality what they believed in was their own Religious, oppressive Structure, which turned out to be about as far away from God and Moses as one can get. And for this reason, Jesus told them that they “would die in their sins” for their unbelief. Whereas, we, beloved, who believe – will be lifted up with Him on the “last day.”
What incredible hope our Faith gives us, beloved! What incredible love, God, our ‘Great I AM’ has for us. For we believe with all our hearts and souls in Him. And we thank you, Jesus, for the suffering you endured for us. And we pray, In your loving care, please protect us and heal us in these coming days from the wiles of the world and the wiles of the evil one!
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