The Gospel of John: a commentary & meditation 
"Before Abraham was, I am"

Gospel Reading:  John 8:51-59

51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death." 52 The Jews said to him, "Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, `If any one keeps my word, he will never taste death.' 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?" 54 Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. 55 But you have not known him; I know  him. If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know him and I keep his word.  56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad." 57 The Jews then said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" 58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." 59 So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

Meditation: Do you thirst to know God -- to know him personally and the power and depth of his love for us? God made us to know him and he gives us the gift of faith and understanding to grow in our knowledge of him. Jesus challenged the people of Israel to accept his word as the revelation of God. His claims challenged the very foundation of their belief and understanding of God. Jesus made a series of claims which are the very foundation of his life and mission. What are these claims? First, Jesus claims unique knowledge of God.  Jesus claims that the only way to full knowledge of the mind and heart of God is through himself.  Jesus also claims unique obedience to God the Father.  He thinks, lives and acts in the knowledge of his Father's word.  To look at his life is to "see how God wishes me to live."  In Jesus alone we see what God wants us to know and what he wants us to be.

When the Jews asked Jesus who do you claim to be? he answered, before Abraham was, I am.  Jesus claims to be timeless and there is only one in the universe who is timeless, namely God. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus was not just a man who came, lived, died, and then rose again.  He is the immortal timeless One, who always was and always will be.  In Jesus we see the eternal God in visible flesh. His death and rising make it possible for us to share in his eternal life.  Do you live in the hope and joy of the resurrection?

"Lord, let your word be on my lips and in my heart that I may walk in the freedom of your truth and love."

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(c) 2001 Don Schwager