John 6:16-20 – I Am

The whole “I Am” thing from Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3 which I preached on last Sunday and will be preaching on again this coming Sunday) keeps coming back. It showed up in two separate books I’m reading along with the Exodus passage and then again yesterday in my daily reading, but in a rather surprising sort of way. John 6:16-20 tells a story of Jesus walking on the water to the disciples. The disciples are out on the sea on their way to an area called Capernaum. It is night and the seas are starting to get rough because the wind has come up. It doesn’t read like it is so rough that they are afraid of sinking but when they see Jesus walking to them, they were understandably terrified. I probably would be too. But then comes verse 20 – “But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” In the translation I was reading, it has one of the little text notes that says that the Greek of “It is I” literally is “I am.” So, could you read it as Jesus saying to them, “I am. Do not be afraid.” I’m not a Greek expert but that has really stayed with me.

The disciples were Jews and they would have known the whole meaning of the “I Am” of God from what they learned of the Exodus and the Passover. They would have known that was the name that God told to Moses to tell the Pharaoh. And there are a bunch of times later in John where Jesus uses that term, “I am the…light of the world…the bread of life…the vine…” etc.

In the midst of their fright at the sea and especially of this figure walking on the water, this I AM may have jumped out at them. I AM is coming. I AM is walking to you on the water. I AM is not bothered by the choppy seas. I AM. It would have stood out.

Yesterday, I was on my morning walk and there was one beam of sunlight shining through some trees and bushes and just lighting up this one flower. All the rest were in shadow. This was the one that stood out.

There’s a lot of fear being pushed out at us on a regular basis. There’s a lot of anxiety and worry. Some of it may be legit. Some is definitely not. But in the midst of the stormy waters, the fear, and the anxiety…remember…

I AM.

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