When Jesus claimed to be God, the people wanted to kill him. How will you respond?
Jesus made some big claims about himself. One of the biggest claims he makes is in John 8:58 – “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
Jesus claims to be: “I am”.
It kinda feels like an incomplete sentence. But when you understand what Jesus is actually saying, you can understand why his Jewish audience were offended and immediately picked up stones to stone him!
What Jesus was claiming
Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus continues to make the claim that he and the Father are One. In this particular interchange, his audience question him and ask if he thinks he is greater than Abraham. Jesus says that Abraham actually rejoiced at seeing his day.
The Jews laugh this off since Jesus isn’t even 50 years old, yet he claims to have seen Abraham (around some 2000 years prior)!
Then he drops the bombshell… “before Abraham was born, I am!”
Why do they pick up stones to kill Jesus? They understand that at this point, if Jesus hasn’t already been explicit enough, he is claiming to be the God of Abraham and Moses.
What it means for us
In Exodus 3, God reveals himself to Moses as “I am who I am.” Jesus is claiming to be that God. This isn’t a surprise to the reader of John’s Gospel, Jesus is introduced in the opening sentences as God who became flesh and dwelt among us.
John records 7 “I am” statements (I am the...bread of life, light of the world, gate, good shepherd, resurrection and the life, way truth & life, true vine). However, in order to understand each of those 7 metaphors, it’s necessary to understand the greatest of these statements where Jesus simply says “I Am”.
When Jesus says "I Am", it means he is claiming to be God.
If that's true, he's not just a 'good teacher'.
If that's true, he's not simply another prophet.
If that's true, it matters how you treat him.
And when Jesus rose from the dead, it proved what he had been saying all along. He really is God and he really came to save us from judgement. So the question is, have you put your trust in Him?