The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him.56 Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am!” At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple. (John 8:52-59)
Relate: I’ve been taught over and over that there are 7 “I Am” statements in John. When Jesus is speaking about Himself he says:
1) I am the bread of life (6:35)
2) I am the light of the world (8:12)
3) I am the gate (10:9)
4) I am the Good Shepherd (10:11)
5) I am the resurrection and the life (11:25)
6) I am the way, truth, and life (14:6)
7) I am the Vine (15:5)
We like the number 7. In Revelation there are 7 churches, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 vials, etc. Seven represents completion. It represents divine perfection. But when we look at the “I am” statements in John, there are actually 8 of them and the one that gets overlooked is far and away the greatest of them all. Look at the confrontation here. Jesus implies they don’t know the truth, they’re slaves to sin, and they’re children of the devil. They jump back that Jesus himself is a Samaritan devil (apparently a regular devil wasn’t bad enough. They had to call him a Samaritan devil) Jesus says, “Abraham was glad when he met me.” Them, “impossible.” Jesus, “Before Abraham was, I AM”
When I picture this conversation, I almost picture a confrontational shouting match. With each interaction the crowd is growing more volatile. Jesus himself has to raise his voice to be heard over their red faced murmuring, but he doesn’t back down in the face of this hostility. No, he is directing this conversation to a point. Then, BOOM. Jesus says it. “I AM” and there is a stunned, shocked silence.
There is no beating around the bush with this one. With any other of Jesus statements about his divinity, a twisted enough mind can rationalize away the fact that Jesus knew He was God. Not here. When Moses was on the side of the mountain he asked God what His name was. God answered, “I AM”. Every time you see the word “Lord” all in caps in the Old Testament, the Hebrew actually has “I AM”. Now Jesus takes the very name of God for Himself. The stunned crowd begins to pick up stones to throw at him, but Jesus, God, simply walks away. Jesus is “I AM”. End of discussion.
React: My head says “yes” to these I am statements of Jesus, but does my life really back that up? Is Jesus my bread of Life? Or do I look to other sources for my provision? Is he the light through which I see my world? Or is he merely a tack on, an afterthought to my life? Is he the gate, the starting and ending point for all my coming and going, or just a once a week destination? Is He my shepherd, protecting me and directing my steps, or do I refuse to “give him the wheel”? Is he the resurrection and the life, my hope for a better future as well as a better today? Is he my vine, the source for all good things in my life? Is he my way, truth, and life? Is Jesus my God?
Jesus, You are God. End of discussion. Help me to step out of the way so that You might be “I AM” through me.