Lenten Devotional: Wednesday, March 27

Psalm 119:97-120Psalm 81Psalm 82Jeremiah 8:18—9:6
Romans 5:1-11
John 8:12-20

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Here we have the second of the seven I AM statements in the book of John. This reflection could do worse than simply call those familiar statements to front of mind:

“Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)
“I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
“Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

I’m tempted to end there, with a terse closing: ENOUGH SAID.

But ever wordy, let me just add that these I AM statements in context reinforce scholars’ much-repeated reminder that John is the “human” gospel, the one that focuses on Jesus as a man, a social being, flesh and blood: “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (1:14). Bread, light, gate, shepherd, life, truth, vine…divine and—like us—human.

John actually added an eighth I AM, all the way at the end of the New Testament, in the book of Revelation: “ ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1:8). Lent is a good time to reflect on John’s seven I AMs and to reaffirm your trust in Christ. He’s coming; don’t delay.