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John29 – Who is? “I am.”

The Judeans said to him, “Right now we have known that you have a demon. Abraham and the prophets died, and you are stating, ‘If anyone may keep my word, he may not ever taste death into eternity.’(John 8: 52)
This is the 29th consecutive extract from John’s first-century eye-witness biography of Jesus Christ. This John (not John the Baptist) was a Jew whose family owned a fishing business based on the Sea of Galilee in present-day Israel. John the Jew, therefore, is continuing to record the words and behaviour towards Jesus of his fellow countrymen.

They take serious issue with this statement Jesus made about himself: ‘If someone may keep my word, he may not ever taste death into eternity.’ They do that because they cannot see that this man in front of them can promise people that “they may not taste death into eternity” when the father of their nation – Abraham (alive circa 2000 BC) – himself died.

That is impossible. Therefore, Jesus must “have a demon”. In today’s parlance, he must be off his head.

“You are not greater than our father Abraham who died. And the prophets died. You are making yourself who?” 

Their thoughts crystalize a little more. ‘Surely, he can’t be attempting to glorify himself by saying that he’s the Most High God, can he? Let’s fix him…’

Jesus answered, “If I myself may glorify myself, my glory is nothing.”

What does he mean by this? If someone tells you she is great, does that make her great? This may be a truth that we’re not happy to agree with.

‘Goodness is not tied to greatness, but greatness to goodness.’ (Greek Proverb)
“The one glorifying me is my Father, of whom you yourselves state that, ‘He is our God' and you have not known him. In fact I myself have discerned him.”

Ah! This is really different. Jesus’ opponents know deep inside that he is glorious – they see him and all he teaches and does to and for others. The AD 30 Jews need to know that the LORD God whom they say they worship is the one who is making Jesus great. And Jesus “discerns him”, knows him.

“And if I may say that I have not discerned him I will be a liar, resembling you. But I have discerned him and I am keeping his word.” 

Strong words from Jesus. When he says “I am keeping his word”, did his opponents ask themselves whether they – the Jerusalem authorities – were also “keeping his word”? God's word?

“Abraham your father was joyful that he may see my own day, and he saw and rejoiced.” 

This matter of Abraham needs to be cleared up. Jesus is saying that Abraham, 2000 years earlier, in fact rejoiced greatly in expectation that he would see the provision that the LORD God would make for him. How?

In the Bible’s first book, Genesis, there is reported the command of the LORD God to Abraham to sacrifice his own son Isaac, as an offering on Mount Moriah. Abraham, believing in the LORD God, went ahead to do that despite everything. Asked by Isaac about the offering to be made, Abraham told him, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” He did.

So, yes, Abraham did look ahead to the day when God would provide his own Son, the Son of God, as the one true offering for sin - on the cross.

So the Judeans said towards him, “Fifty years you do not yet have and you discerned Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen I state to you, before Abraham ever came to be, I myself am!” 
Was Jesus, born in Bethlehem AD 30, a contemporary of Abraham? Jesus said to them, “Before Abraham ever came to be, I am.”
‘What kind of greatness can this be/ That chose to be made small?/ Exchanging untold majesty/ For a world so pitiful/ That God should come as one of us/ I'll never understand/ The more I hear the story told/ The more amazed I am.’ (Graham Kendrick)
So they took stones in order that they may put them upon him. In fact, Jesus hid and came out, out of the temple. 

His opponents turn thoughts into actions. They will be successful a little later.

Sinner Syvret

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