He met me at the airport. That’s when I knew my husband really loved me. When he met me at the airport.
We had only been dating for a few months when we hit our college summer break. He went to live with his family in Minneapolis. I went to work in the inner city in Los Angeles. We traveled the tricky road of a long distance relationship, trying to keep our love going forward through intermittent letters and phone calls. As the summer was coming to a close, I was uncertain of our future together. It seemed like we were on different paths.
But as we talked about the end of the summer schedule, we talked about me coming to Minneapolis for something. I had no idea how I would get there since my return flight went to Chicago, where my car was parked. And I didn’t want to make the seven hour drive by myself.
By the end of that drive, my feelings had shifted dramatically. I went from feeling like our future together was uncertain to feeling like there was no one on earth I would rather marry.
He came for me himself. His love for me was displayed in a bold action.
God displayed His love for me in an action even bolder. The Creator crossed into His creation.
This is the central claim of Jesus. He doesn’t just claim He is a teacher or a good moral leader. He claims He is God Himself.
After saying He is the Light of the world, Jesus (understandably) is questioned about His identity. After a long dialogue with the Jews about whether He was claiming to be greater than Abraham, Jesus finally says,
“Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I am!” – John 8:58
Jesus is clearly referencing the holy name of Yahweh. A name given to Moses many years before.
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” - Exodus 3:13-14
The Israelites considered the name of Yahweh to be so holy that they didn’t even utter it or spell it in its entirety. Yet, Jesus not only says this name, He claims it as His own.
The Jewish crowd responds by trying to stone Him.
How do we respond?
Do we think this statement crazy? Do we disregard it and move onto other teachings of Jesus that are easier to follow, like “love your neighbor as yourself?” Do we assume that there was some sort of misunderstanding and He wasn’t really claiming to be Yahweh?
Or do we take Jesus at His word? What if… what if… we accept that this statement is in fact true? What if the God of the Universe crossed the gap between the Creator and the created, the infinite and the finite, the limitless and the limited? What if the One who formed human skin put on human skin? What would that say about His feelings for us?
God’s love for us is displayed in a bold action.
“This is the story of God: he pursues us with his love and pursues us with his love. And even if you reject his love, he pursues you ever still. It is not enough to send an angel or a prophet or any other, for in issues of love, you must go yourself. And so God has come. This is the story of Jesus, that God walked among us and he pursues us with his love. He is very familiar with rejection but is undeterred. And he is here, even now, pursuing you with his love.” – Erwin McManus
Jesus is not just a prophet or a teacher. Jesus is Yahweh. And Yahweh is love.
That is what Jesus saying “I am” reveals to me. What does it reveal to you?
Read the post before this one, Walking through the woods at night.