John 8:52-59

John 8:52-59 has the bantering continuing between Jesus and the religious leaders.  They accuse Him of being crazy.  “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’.”  The great claim of Jesus delighted the religious leaders; they believed they finally caught Him in a clearly blasphemous claim. They denied the claim Jesus made to grant eternal life.  But what Jesus said is true.  He is the only way, truth and life.  No one comes to the Father but through Him!

Jesus makes it clear that what He is teaching is not about Him, but the One who sent Him. “Jesus said, If I turned the spotlight on myself, 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”. The religious leaders claimed that the Father in heaven was their God, but it was not a true claim. In truth, they did not know God, but Jesus did. He was in complete alignment with God’s plan for Him.

Jesus returns to their obsession with their heritage.  “Abraham – your ‘father’ – with jubilant faith looked down the corridors of history and saw my day coming. He saw it and cheered”. He makes it clear that He was not some unexpected guy that showed up.  He was the one prophets had talked of for generations.  Jesus claimed that not only was He greater than Abraham, but Abraham himself also acknowledged this. Jesus told them that He was the eternal God, existing not only during the time of Abraham but before he was born and lasting into eternity.

Jesus claimed to be the great I Am, the voice of the covenant God of Israel revealed at the burning bush. “The Jews said, “You’re not even fifty years old – and Abraham saw you?” “Believe me,” said Jesus, “I am who I am long before Abraham was anything.”  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”.  They knew He couldn’t have ever seen Abraham or vice versa.  But Jesus continues pressing the truth – that He was before Abraham was. There actions demonstrate that the religious leaders understood perfectly what Jesus meant. He claimed to be eternal God, and they regarded that as blasphemy. They felt He was worthy of death and intended to carry it out at the moment.  But it wasn’t yet His time to die, so miraculously, he escaped unscathed.

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