Again, Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and though you look for me, you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.” The Jews wondered, “Why does he say that we can’t come where he is going? Will he kill himself?”
But Jesus said, “You are from below and I am from above; you are of this world and I am not of this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. And you shall die in your sins, unless you believe that I am He.”
They asked him, “Who are you?”; and Jesus said, “Just what I have told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the One who sent me is truthful and everything I learned from him, I proclaim to the world.”
They didn’t understand that Jesus was speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing of myself, but I say just what the Father taught me. He who sent me is with me and has not left me alone; because I always do what pleases him.”
As Jesus spoke like this, many believed in him.
As we approach the Holy Week, the liturgical readings are more and more explicitly referring to Jesus’ impending death on a cross and its resulting beneficial effects on mankind. Thus in the first reading the bronze serpent elevated on a standard and which heals the Israelites bitten by the fiery serpents is a “type” (a reality of the Old Testament symbolically representing a future reality of the New Testament) of Christ elevated on the cross and healing those who believe in him, as explicitly taught by Jesus (cf. Jn 3:14). In today’s gospel reading, Jesus alludes again to his “lifting” up on the cross as being a source of revelation about his divinity. His use of the expression I AM in a transcendent meaning (cf. the theophany of God revealing his name as being I AM in Ex 3:14) is a clear allusion to his divine nature.
Throughout the Old Testament we find many similar “types” announcing the realities of the New Testament and especially pointing to Christ as the center and fulfillment of all things. For that is what he is. “I am the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev 22:13).
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