“Jesus said to them ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58
Have you ever said something that made a group of religious people so mad that they picked up stones to throw them at you? Don’t worry I haven’t done that either. I have preached many times and I can say that I have not ever faced that at all.
In John 8 Jesus said something that completely makes the Jews of His day erupt in anger. They become so angry they try to stone Him, but Jesus escaped.
In John 8:58, Jesus was speaking on His departure (verses 21-30) and many Jews believed in Jesus. He transitions to talking about being a disciple. A disciple of Jesus is someone who has been set free by the truth. The Jews of Jesus’ day found their salvation in being Abraham’s seed and they didn’t realize they were in bondage to sin. Jesus proceeds to say to those Jews that they are of Satan and can’t hear what Jesus is saying to them. The Jews proceed to say that Jesus has a demon. Jesus says that He honors His Father and seeks after His glory.
They ask if Jesus viewed Himself greater than Abraham. Jesus’ response was that He wasn’t honoring Himself but rather the Father and that the Father honors Him. Jesus tells them they don’t know the Father but He does.
Verses 56-58 read “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad. Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
After saying this, they became so angry they tried to stone him.
What makes a group of people so mad that they are ready to stone someone? What did Jesus say that set them off?
Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.”
Jesus was making a claim to divinity. In Exodus 3:14 God calls Himself I AM. The Jews would have been well versed in the Torah and knew exactly what Jesus was saying to them. That is what made them so upset.
Yet today, this reality, that Jesus is The Great I Am, is one of the most comforting aspects in the Christian life.
Jesus is God
Jesus was not messing around when He said plainly that He is I AM. In the Old Testament if someone claimed to be God that person committed blasphemy and that claim was punishable by death. It is no mistake that the text records the religious leader’s reaction to this. Many religions today don’t view Jesus as God and some even go as far as saying He never claimed to be divine. Yet Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” This means that Jesus is God. He is not saying this figuratively. He was not playing around. Jesus Himself knew the Word and knew what would happen if He said this.
This narrative points the reader to one of many instances where Jesus claimed to be God. Jesus is God because He is The Great I AM. It changes Jesus from being one of many, to being God.
Jesus Knew What He Said
Jesus didn’t make a mistake by saying this. He knew exactly the repercussions of his words. He knew what was going to happen and He concealed himself in escape as the Jews tried to kill him.
The reaction of the Pharisees proves they understood Jesus was claiming to be the very God that showed himself to Abraham and Moses.
This secures my soul as I can rest in the fact Jesus is God. He is either who He said He was or He is not.
Accepting the Great I Am
It was at Freeway Ministries 5 years ago I placed my faith and trust in Jesus. Part of that was initially trusting He is God. To this day I still find peace in knowing Jesus is God.
In the midst of this season, there is restlessness, fear, extreme viewpoints, and other things that show great unrest. But I can rest in Jesus being God. I don’t have to fear the unknown. I can have the assurance that parries all anxiety, assurance that brings about peace and allows me to rest at night. That assurance is knowing Jesus is The Great I Am.