“The Jews answered him, “Arenʼt we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” John 8:48-58
This is possibly one of the most powerful passages in the New Testament and is a proclaimation of Who and What Jesus really is and was!
So, in vs 48, the Pharisees (religious leaders), deduced that Jesus must be a demon- possessed Sameritain. Now to a devote Hebrew, this was the ultimate low-blow! A good, law abiding Jew, would carefully chose a mate for his and her son or daughter, from within both their own race and tribe. The Sameritains were considered to be “half-breeds” and were shunned by these “normal” Jews. Worse yet, they’d accused Jesus of being fill of demons. They had called Jesus both!
So Jesus answers that He’s neither, but rather gives glory to His Father God and does all His Father tells Him to do.
He says that, “whoever obeys my word will never see death.” (vs 51) So now the Jews not only agrue with, now they scoff at Him too! They ultimately rebut Jesus’ comment with, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” (vss. 52-53)
So back and forth they go, countering everthing Jesus says with some kind of argument. They talk about God the Father. They talk about Jesus being glorified by God the Father and Father Abraham. They talk about Father Abraham. Finally, Jesus tells them, “Your father, Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day (His coming day of glorification); he saw it and was glad” (vs 56).
The sarcastic, entrapping, cynical Pharisees pop off with, You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” (vs 57). They neither believed that Jesus had seen and had conversed with Father Abraham, neither did they believe that Jesus regularly represented God the Father, but JUST TO MAKE SURE they understood, WITHOUT A DOUBT, what He was telling them! Jesus said to them, in their language, using they’re metephors that He was God. Look what He says in verse 58, “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I Am!” (vs 58). Notice 2 important things:
1. Jesus spoke to the “Jewishness” in each of the religious leader’s heart by identifying with the most precise statement of God’s descrption of Himself given from the entire Old Testament. In Exodus 13:14, when God is answering Moses’ question about Who he should tell God’s people Who sent him to lead them out of Israel, God tells him, “I Am Who I Am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘ I Am has sent me to you.’ ”
Jesus, in this statement is undeniably, unequivocally using their own language to describe Himself as God.
2. Here’s the best part: Jesus uses present, perfect tense to identify with God, when He concludes with, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
Abraham was, because Abraham had lived snd died-Abraham WAS. Before Abraham was born, in fact, before God created the heavens, the earth and everything in them, Jesus IS because, Jesus, being God, has always been! When Abraham was, Jesus IS, because He was present throughout history! On that day when Abraham rises from the dead, as all of us who know Jesus as Savior will, Jesus IS, just as much as He was from the beginning!
Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I AM!” (vs 58).
For this, the Jewish religious leaders, picked up stones to kill Jesus with, but Jesus slipped away from the temple undetected. (vs 59)
Jesus is God and has been God from the very beginning of time. He was saying that in undeniable language. Is He Lord in your life?
Think about it!