Tuesday, August 3, 2021
I Am Who I Am
48 The Jews then said, “That settles it. We were right all along when we called you a Samaritan and said you were crazy—demon-possessed!”
49-51 Jesus said, “I’m not crazy. I simply honor my Father, while you dishonor me. I am not trying to get anything for myself. God intends something gloriously grand here and is making the decisions that will bring it about. I say this with absolute confidence. If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to look death in the face.”
52-53 At this point, the Jews said, “Now we know you’re crazy. Abraham died. The prophets died. And you show up saying, ‘If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to face death, not even a taste.’ Are you greater than Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you think you are!”
54-56 Jesus said, “If I were striving to get all the attention, it wouldn’t amount to anything. But my Father, the same One you say is your Father, put me here at this time and place of splendor. You haven’t recognized him in this. But I have. If I, in false modesty, said I didn’t know what was going on, I would be as much of a liar as you are. But I do know, and I am doing what he says. Abraham—your ‘father’—with elated faith looked down the corridors of history and saw my day coming. He saw it and cheered.”
57 The Jews said, “You’re not even fifty years old—and Abraham saw you?”
58 “Believe me,” said Jesus, “I am who I am long before Abraham was anything.”
59 That did it—pushed them over the edge. They picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the Temple.
-John 8:48-59 The Message.
Jesus’ reminder is that he is Eternal. So the Jews responded to Jesus from verse 47: “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason, you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
Verse 48: “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
Verse 49: Jesus: “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.”
Verse 50: “But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges.”
Verse 51: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”
Verse 51 study: Let this verse serve a significant point. When you keep a friend’s word to do what you said you will do to take them to the store, go out on the night, whatever the case is, you make sure you honor what you say you will do. Keeping Jesus’ word means that you are going to obey and hear the words he says. Another point Jesus makes is that those who obey won’t die; it is spiritually and not physical, but physical death will be overcome. Anyone that follows Christ will be raised to live eternally with him.
Verse 52: Jews: “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say if anyone keeps my word, he will never taste of death.”
Verse 53: The Jews continued: “Surely You are not greater than your Father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?“
Verse 54: Jesus: “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’;
Verse 55: “And you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; if I say that I do not know Him; I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word.
Verse 56: Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
Verse 56 study: Remember the covenant God promised Abraham? At that time, he was called Abram. If you are not familiar, you can read in Genesis 12:1-7, 15:1-21. God told Abraham that through him, all nations would be blessed. Abraham saw this through the eyes of his faith. Jesus, the descendant of Abraham, blessed all people through his death, resurrection, and salvation.
Verse 57: Jews: “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”
Verse 58: Jesus: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.
Verse 58 study: Where did I hear “I am” before? Exodus 3:14 is where I read this. “I am” is what God told Moses when Moses asked what to say to who sent him to free the Israelites. Jesus told the Jews that I existed before Abraham. The most powerful statement of all. The holy name “I am” should have explained it all. It demands an answer and can’t be ignored. Because of this response, the Jews tried to stone Jesus and accuse him of blasphemy because he claimed he is God, which is true. However, the Jews didn’t see it that way.
Verse 59: Therefore, they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid and went out of the Temple.
Verse 59 study: The religious leaders were ready to stone Jesus for claiming to be God. According to the law in Leviticus 24:16, they can stone anyone that blasphemes the name of the Lord will be put to death. Here is the thing, they understood what Jesus was claiming. That’s why they didn’t believe him and charged him with blasphemy. Isn’t it ironic that they were the blasphemers cursing and attacking God they claimed to serve?
Father, thank you for your teaching today. It is incredible to learn the word for what it is. I pray for the next steps: How do we handle the use of blasphemy? How do we respond to Jesus, the Son of God? I pray we meditate with those questions and pray for the Holy Spirit for answers. Thank you for your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen!