“So they said to him, “Who are you?”
He is the eternal Word – spoken over the waters, issuing from the burning bush, heard from the cloud on Sinai. He is who He has told the Jews He is “from the beginning” - and by that, He does not mean “from the beginning of my public ministry.” He means a time far beyond that, from before that first sounding of God's voice over the waters. He is I AM, and if the Jews do not believe Him on this, they will die in their sins. He will condemn them – where, a day earlier and in the same scene, He refused to condemn a woman who was clearly a sinner.
John continues to lead us towards the Passion, through an ever-unfolding revelation of who Christ is. Today He makes a clear and public claim to divinity, and many of the people do come to believe in Him. Yet - for everything that Christ says now, for all the power and the majesty it contains, He will make a statement more powerful still. He will make it in silence, and by it He will draw all men to Himself. The question posed by the Jews will be turned back to each of us for our answer.
“Who do you say that I am?”