Portraits of Jesus

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Pablito Tagura SVD (Philippines) for Tuesday 5th Week of Lent

Jesus introduced himself to the Jews: “I AM.” This is reminiscent of God revealing his name to Moses: “I AM WHO AM” (Ex. 3, 13-14).  In Hebrew, it means that God is the ONE who is, who alone exists without limitation.We all received existence from Him, but God exists in himself and depends on no one and nothing.

Christian Philosophers debated in an abstract language about the “I AM.”  I, myself as a philosopher, struggle with the idea of this being “who has no beginning and never ceases to exist,” because such a being escapes our limited and concrete human experience. 

God reached out to us in a “language” that we can understand, so the Word, who was with God and was God became flesh and dwelt among us. (Jn. 1: 1-5, 14) Jesus is the concrete communication of the Father.  To see his face is to see the face of God. 

Jesus revealed himself not only in the abstract, “I Am.” but in the concrete,“I AM the Good Shepherd who gives his life for his sheep.” (Jn. 10: 11)  “I AM the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (Jn. 6: 35)  “I AM the vine and you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn. 15:5) “I AM the way, the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father except through me.” (Jn. 14:6) “I AM the light of the world, the one who follows me will have light and life.” (Jn. 8:12).

When we pray and need assurance and security, we now have a clear and concrete picture of God, who is Emmanuel – the ONE who is with us. Amazing but true!

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