MUSINGS: THE CRUCIFIED “I AM”☦️
“So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I Am…” (John 8:28)
The Gospel of St. John is a rich mine — a mine of Jesus’ revelation of His person or identity. In it we find Jesus declaring Himself: (1) “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” (2) “I am the Bread of Life,” (3) “I am the Good Shepherd” and so on. We are, indeed, enriched in reading St. John’s Gospel. The more we prayerfully read the Johannine Gospel, the deeper we know Our Lord. And the more we know Jesus, the more we fall in love with Him.
In our Gospel today (John 8: 21-30) Our Lord Jesus says, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM” (John 8:28). This is just a very short sentence, but loaded with meaning. In it Jesus says so much to us about Himself — His mission and person.
1. ☑️”When you have lifted up the Son of Man”: This clearly refers to the death of our Lord Jesus, the Incarnate God, on the cross. St. Thomas Aquinas says, “…but when you have lifted up the Son of Man, that is, when you have nailed me to the wood of the cross…” (Super Ioannem #1192). Ave crux, spes nostra!
2. ☑️”then you will know that I Am”: This points us back to that story in the Book of Exodus when God revealed Himself as the great “I Am” (“ˀehyeh ˀāšer ˀehyeh”; “Ego eimi ho on;” “I Am Who Am”). Here Jesus proclaims Himself to be the “I Am” (ἐγώ εἰμι). He defines Himself as God (the Second Divine Person) as He is lifted up on the cross. St. Thomas Aquinas comments, “He mentions the greatness of his divinity when he says, that I Am, that is, that I have in me the nature of God, and that it is I who spoke to Moses, saying: “I am who am” (Ex 3:14)” (Super Ioannem #1193).
In other words, this verse clearly conveys to us the truth that the death of Jesus on the cross is the death of a Divine Person. On the cross God shows us the greatness of His love because God suffers and dies for us sinners. In the elevation of Our Lord Jesus on the cross, He reveals Himself as God and Redeemer (Isaiah 43:11). Our Crucified God hanging on the cross is an eloquent and perfect expression of Love (John 15:13). Behold the Divine Lover! Look at Him offering His life on the cross for us His beloved; repent, and be drawn to Him (John 12:32). Amen.🙏
☦️Ecce crucem Domini! Fugite partes adversae!