In John’s Gospel Jesus makes seven radical statements about himself. They are known as the “I am…” statements, because they all start with the words “I am”. The way Jesus expressed these two words in the Greek makes a startling point. He used a strange form of speech that resonates with God’s words to Moses in the Old
Testament. When Moses asks for God’s name, God’s reply is “I am that I am”. In the ancient Hebrew, which had no vowels, God’s name is expressed in four letters: YHWH (known as the tetragrammaton). We usually pronounce this name as “Yahweh” or
“Jehovah” in English. The way Jesus said, “I am” was intentionally designed to associate him with this name of God.
Jesus claims that he is the light of the world. It is light that enables us to see. It is light that creates color. Then, when Jesus is challenged by the religious leaders, he responds confidently, ending with the statement that they would know God if they knew him. The simple truth here is this: God is like Jesus. As light helps us to see what is hidden in darkness, so Jesus helps us to see the mystery of God’s nature. If we ever hold on to a picture of God that doesn’t look like Jesus, we’ve missed the mark. God is to be understood through the character and actions of Jesus.
When we take time to really “see” Jesus, to focus on who he was and what he did, we are learning more about God. One of the best ways to practice this focused attention is through praise. As we praise Jesus, we learn to see and understand him better – and through him, God. Try it today.
I praise you Jesus, Light of the world, for the way you reveal God to me.