John 8:48-59 (NIV) 48 The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” 49 “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 At this the Jews exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” 54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” 58 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
On verses 48-59: Here in these verses Jesus makes some incredible claims:
– Jesus claims that if you obey his word, you will never die (v51)
– Jesus claims that he has special knowledge of who God is (v55)
– as a man in his 30s, Jesus claims that he has seen Abraham, who lived many centuries before Jesus’ time and even pre-existed Abraham (v58)
– Jesus refers to himself with the words “I am” (v58), which is another name for God (Exodus 3:14)
If Jesus was not the Son of God, his critics would be justified in thinking that Jesus was crazy or a pathological liar. That is why Jesus’ critics call Jesus a Samaritan and demon-possessed (v48), thus revealing their prejudicial bias against people from Samaria as well as their lack of compassion for people who struggle with demon possession.
But the reason Jesus has no trouble making these incredible claims is not because Jesus is a professional liar, demon-possessed or crazy, but because these claims are the truth.
This brings us once again to the dilemma C.S. Lewis wrote about: either Jesus is lying, crazy or telling the truth. Each one of us needs to answer this question for ourselves. The question of “Who is Jesus?” is the most important question you will ever answer in your lifetime.
Jesus, thank You for being so bold in saying who You are and never wavering. I believe You are who You say You are: the Son of God. Before Abraham was, You are. You are the great I AM. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!