From the Word
“and behold I AM with you I AM all the days even to the end of the age.”
Pastor, that’s not what it says! It is if you read it in Greek. We have spent this church year reading and contemplating Jesus’ “I AM” statements. We have read how He is Yahweh (I AM IAM), and what that means to each of the occasions He used it. We have seen how He is Living Water, Bread of Life, Light, Resurrection and Life, and many more. Yahweh became flesh to save us and touches our lives in so many ways.
Our final focus is on his presence. The context of these words is the Great Commission, to go and make disciples by baptizing and by teaching. God promises to send the Spirit to accomplish this work. We are the instruments of His baptizing and his teaching. But this task seems beyond daunting, so Jesus gives us the promise of his divine presence.
It’s easy for us to think that we are coming into his presence as we gather for worship. We are less inclined to think that He comes into our presence all the days of our lives. There are times we try to hide from Him because we sin, but He is present. So we come in confession, confident that He has already accomplished our forgiveness.
He is not only present as we baptize, He is present in Baptism. He brings the blessings of His death and resurrection to the water and Word that the pastor applies in Baptism. Those blessings are what the Spirit uses to make us new, and dwell in us by faith.
He is not only present as we teach His Word, He is the incarnate Word who has come to make us, and those we teach, His own. He is the subject and content of the Word. But more than that, John 1 teaches us that He is the Word who comes forth from God to bring about our creation and new creation. He is Yahweh, the sum and substance of God’s self-revelation. He is the one who communicates God’s Word of grace, and God’s touch of grace given us in Baptism and the Sacrament of the Altar.
When we say that Jesus is with us, it is not a metaphor or any other figure of speech. He is as present with us as He was at the burning bush, in the Tabernacle and Temple, in the fire and cloud, and all other ways He visited His Old Testament people. He is as present with us as was in the manger, the mount of transfiguration, and at his ascension. His real, tangible presence surrounds us as we baptize, teach and live. I AM I AM.