John 8: Jesus’ Bold Claim
Jesus was never a man to avoid controversy, and in John 8, He made what very well might have been one of His most controversial statements.
Joh 8:57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
Joh 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Joh 8:59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Jesus appears to have used grammar badly right here, but He was clearly alluding to a title for God himself from way back in Exodus when God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush.
Exo 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
That also explains why the people became so mad in verse 59. They wanted the stone Him right there, but then the rest of the chapter, it doesn’t seem that that tension was there. It was when He identified with the title of God that the people became a little bit upset to say the least.
I mentioned these verses because there are people who claim that Jesus never claimed to be God, and Christian simply impose that on Him. However, just because we do not necessarily understand the cultural reference Jesus was making does not mean that He never claimed to be God. Clearly the Jewish people understood what He was doing there. They wanted to stone Him. Even if we might not pick up the reference is easily today, the effects should tell us something.
This is not the only example of Jesus identifying with God, but I just wanted to point it out because if Jesus told us who He was and if He proved that by rising from the dead, what are we going to do with that? It is an important question.