Friends, today, Jesus refers to himself as “I AM,” the name God revealed to Moses. So let’s reflect on this episode from Exodus. While tending sheep in the hill country, Moses sees a strange sight. There an angel of the Lord appears to him in fire, flaming out of a bush. God sees him and calls him by name: “Moses, Moses. I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” This is a very familiar God, one who knows Moses’ ancestors.
Moses makes bold to ask, “If the Israelites ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?” God replied: “I am who I am.” What does that mean? God is saying, in essence, “I cannot be defined, described, or delimited. I am not a being, but rather the sheer act of to-be itself.”
“This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.” The sheer act of being itself cannot be avoided, and it cannot be controlled. It can only be surrendered to in faith. How shocking and strange Jesus’ listeners must have found it when Jesus took this name for himself!