Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Before Abraham Was, I Am"

“The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ [3] 55 But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” [4] 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.” (John 8:48-59 (ESV)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus declares himself to be God here. The Jews understand it, they pick up rocks to stone Jesus for blasphemy. Unfortunately today, many refuse to understand this. The other day I offended a woman by saying God died. She was as incensed as Nestorius returning to Constantinople to find the people dancing around bonfires declaring “God has been crucified. God is dead.” Seems an odd thing to celebrate with bonfire at first glance, but then it is the gospel itself that was preserved at the Council Ephesus from which Nestorius returned. As Paul writes to the Corinthians: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2(ESV) It would be meaningless to know this if Jesus were not God, if he were not the I Am, who can preserve us from tasting death and give us eternal life. I mean there is no way you can take his I Am statement in context without realizing his claim to be God. “Before Abraham was, I Am” Jesus doesn’t say I was before Abraham. That would make logical sense. No, he ends it with an on going present indicative. I Am. Here is God. He gives life. If you keep his word you will never taste death, because his word is life itself, it was his word that created life.

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