Who do you see God as? Do you see Him as the Son of God, or do you see Him as a great teacher or a prophet? Do you see Him as a fraud? If so, you’re not alone. People have asked the same questions throughout history, and we see an example of this in John 8:51-59.
In verse 51 Jesus declares that there is power in the life He offers to us. Anyone who obeys His teachings and accepts Him as their Saviour will spend eternity with Jesus. He can make this claim because He is the source of eternal life.
Jesus knows his Father intimately and eternally. He has come to do His Father’s will. If He doesn’t confess that He is the Son of God, He will be a liar like His enemies who claim to know God but in reality are in spiritual darkness. Knowing a few Bible verses doesn’t guarantee that we will have a deep, personal relationship with God. That can only happen when we honour God in word and deed.
When Abraham was told by God to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham was allowed to have a view of the Messiah’s death. He, the father of the faithful, was happy to see the Messiah far off. We should rejoice that Jesus has come near to us.
The Pharisees were convinced that Jesus was possessed by the devil. Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, was dead. Jesus proclaimed that He existed before Abraham, the father of the Jews. Abraham died, but Jesus is the Giver of Life. Abraham was created, but Jesus was uncreated. No one could make the claim they could avoid or prevent death. Does Jesus think He is greater than them? They wondered who He was making Himself out to be. The question is not who He is making Himself out to be, but who He is. Jesus is God in human flesh. He has come to do His Father’s bidding.
The Jews could not understand how Jesus could claim that Abraham saw Him. Jesus was only thirty years old, and Abraham lived and died centuries earlier. In response, Jesus proclaimed, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” That was the same name for deity Moses heard at the burning bush.
The Jews understood Jesus’ claim that He was the Son of God, but they understood it as a blasphemy-a crime that was punishable by stoning. Jesus managed to escape the crowd because the time of His death had not come. By trying to kill Him, the Jews showed Jesus that the devil was their real father. They wanted to follow Satan’s orders. We have a choice. We can hear God’s Words or tune them out. We can have God as our Father, or we can place our lives in the devil, who leads us to eternal death and destruction.
The Jews, who were guardians of the Scriptures and saw the life and deeds of Jesus, failed to recognize the Living Word of God when they saw Him. They were exposed to God’s truth each day as they preserved the text with care. They made sure that each successive generation received a purely transcribed copy of God’s Word.
Jesus is most concerned with what we experience in the spirit. In other words, He is concerned with our eternal destiny. He doesn’t want to see anyone condemned to hell, but He has given us the freedom to choose.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p.1456)
- Fredrikson, R.L. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 27: John (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1985; pp. 158-161)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. Part of Wordsearch 12 Bible software package.
- The Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, “Here’s a New, Lasting Identity.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Swindoll, Charles R.: Swindoll’s New Testament Insights on John (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; 2010; pp. 172-174)