One of the least favorite things I
enjoy is shopping for cereal. The
cereal aisle in most grocery stores
seems endless. Boxes of cereal are
stacked from just above ground level
to towering 10 feet in the air. And,
while my taste buds are tempted by
the variety, suspicion of genetically
modified foods, bleached flour,
bountiful refined sugar and
unpronounceable ingredients keep me
searching literally for half an hour to
find a viable alternative to my
morning, tasteless, non-GMO
Cheerios. Within the copious amount
of cereal available, I must make a
choice as to what is the best one for
We live in a world of options,
many, many options. We’ve come to
expect a variety of products and
opportunities as we increasingly value
expression of one’s individuality.
Though some continue to loudly
protest, we live in a diverse, inclusive
Our planet is filled with a wide-
range of human expressions, cultural
expectations, and religious beliefs.
Within this reality we hear the words
of Jesus saying, “I AM the way, I AM
the truth, I AM the life. No one comes
to the Father except through me.”
Do we hear these words as
Do we as Christians understand
and experience the value within Jesus’
John wrote his Gospel within a
diverse world. But as in our world,
there are many choices each person
must make. Within the realm of
options, there are healthy choices and
there are unhealthy choices.
John’s Gospel is written with the
premise that “God so loved the world
that he gave his only Son, so that
whosoever believes in him may not
perish, but may have eternal life,
(intimate, abundant life with God).
For God did not send his Son into the
world to condemn the world, but that
the world through him might be saved
(John 3:16 & 17).
John’s Gospel reaches out in
compassion into a world with many
options. The Gospel tries to give
people a heathy choice for living in a
world where individual, societal and
religious expressions have the power
to draw us toward or away from the
God of love revealed in Jesus of
Let’s take a minute and place
ourselves in the context of this Gospel
lesson. It takes place at a time before
Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Jesus has shared a meal with his
friends and washed his disciples’ feet,
giving them an example of how to live
in service to God and others. Judas
has left the group to betray Jesus.
Now, Jesus continues preparing
his friends for his departure (death)
from them. He promises that he is
going to prepare a place so that all
who love him will one day be together
in God’s dwelling.
Thomas is confused. He doesn’t
understand what his friend and
teacher is trying to convey. “We don’t
know where you are going, how can
we know the way?” Jesus responds
with I AM statements.
He has used statements like these
before. I AM the bread of life; I AM
the light of the world; I AM the gate
for the sheep; I AM the good
shepherd; I AM the resurrection and
the life. Now Jesus says, “I AM the
way, I AM the truth, and I AM the
These I AM statements remind us
of Moses’ encounter with God on
Mount Sinai. From a burning bush
God’s voice called out to Moses to lead
the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to
the Promised Land.
Moses wasn’t convinced that
anyone would listen to him. Moses
said to God, “I am nobody. How can I
go to the king and bring the Israelites
out of Egypt?” He was afraid that
even the Israelites would think him a
mad-man. God answered Moses, “I
will be with you…”
Moses responded by asking,
“Who shall I say is sending me to do
these things?” God said, “I AM who I
AM. You must tell them: ‘The one who
is called I AM has sent me to you.”
(Taken from Exodus 3:6-14)
John’s Gospel proclaims that
Jesus reveals the God of Abraham,
Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the
prophets. Jesus makes known God
the Holy ONE known as I AM.
Jesus tells his disciples, “No one
comes to the Father except through
me” because Jesus of Nazareth
exposes the nature and presence of
the GREAT I AM.
Rather than hearing this through
our ‘inclusive / exclusive’
contemporary thinking, let’s hear this
as telling us of Jesus’ life-purpose.
It is his purpose to drawn all
people to a place of accepting and
living a meaningful, intimate, healing,
forgiving, loving relationship with the
One and Only God known as I AM.
A relationship with the GREAT I
AM through Jesus is so life-
transforming that it compels people,
like Stephen-the- deacon, to witness
and even fearlessly dying for this
relationship – with unshakeable
confidence in the GREAT I AM.
Today I want to express my
gratitude to I AM for Jesus and the
life I experience in our relationship.
And, my gratitude extends as well
to my Mom, my two Grandmothers
and my Great-grandmother. Without
these four Christian women I wouldn’t
have been given the many
opportunities to know and experience
the GREAT I AM through Christ
I remember each one of these
loved ones of mine reading scripture,
encouraging me to attend Sunday
School and worship, and inviting me
to build relationships with other
Christians for supporting my personal
journey of loving and serving the
GREAT I AM through my talents,
skills and passion.
My Mom still encourages me and
prays daily for me and my ministry.
This means more to me than words
In a world of many options, let us
live unapologetically our relationship
with God the GREAT I AM through
Christ Jesus. Like no other, Jesus
allows us to know and experience the
God of all creation – whose essence is
Live with boldness your
relationship with God.
Give people opportunities
through you to know and experience
God for themselves.
It is our responsibility and
privilege to help God continue
reshaping our world with justice,
compassion and mutual respect. IF
we, like our example Jesus, live and
share the GREAT I AM’s lavish love,
positive change will happen – in us
and the world.