“I am.” (John 8:58)

When Moses asked God his name in the burning bush, God replied: “I am who am”—a phrase that can also be translated as: “I will cause to be what I will cause to be” (Exodus 3:14). Ultimately, no translation is entirely satisfactory, because “this divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery … infinitely above everything that we can understand” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 206). And yet, in telling Moses his name, God gave the Israelites a pre­cious gift: the revelation of his divine Person and of his continuing, saving presence.

Centuries later, many Jews who prided themselves on being descendants of Abraham and dis­ciples of Moses failed to recognize that Jesus was God in their midst (John 8:33,39; 9:28). Abraham had received God’s promises with faith and rejoiced as he looked forward to their fulfillment. But sadly, many of those who actually encountered the long-awaited Messiah scoffed at his claims.

Jesus gave an amazing reply to these skeptics. “Before Abraham came to be,” he declared, “I am” (John 8:58). By using words taken directly from Exodus—words whose significance Jesus’ listeners certainly understood—he was openly stating his divine, eternal nature.

I am. I am he. I am the One who has been with you from the days of Abraham. I am the One who brings life, blessing, peace, and salvation. Believe in me. Follow me. Trust me. This is what God told Moses on Mount Horeb. And it’s what Jesus wants to tell us today. He wants to convince us, by the power of his rev­elation, that he has nothing but good planned for us.

On Horeb, God drew Moses into his presence. Seeing the burning bush, Moses couldn’t just shrug his shoulders and walk away; he felt a divine pull that he simply had to fol­low. Likewise, Jesus is in heaven, but he is also calling out to us, drawing us to himself. Every day, he wants to reveal to us the mysteries of his love and his promise of salvation. Every day, he wants to lift us into his pres­ence and assure us that he is the great I am. What a loving God we have!

“Thank you, Jesus, for revealing yourself to me! Teach me to recognize your presence and to welcome your power at work in my life.”

Genesis 17:3-9; Psalm 105:4-9