Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you, a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area. (John 8:51-59)
The pandemic that has swept the world is establishing a new norm . . . in our thoughts, in the way we interact with others, in the very way we live. It is a norm that we wish was not present in our lives. But it is.
Against that background, we read a key promise in today’s Gospel – in fact, THE promise which is at the heart of our spiritual life . . . Amen, Amen, I say to you, “before Abraham came to be, I AM.” The double “Amen” with which Jesus responds to the Jews is both an indication of a new teaching and on the other of a deep revelation. While on the one hand there is a contrast of tenses: the past (Abraham was) and the present (I am), on the other hand the “I am” saying is used here in the absolute sense indicating that Jesus identifies himself with God. Jesus is infinitely greater than Abraham since Jesus is one with God.
The difficulties of our present life can cause us to wonder if God has forgotten us. But the fact is that God does not withdraw his covenant. Just as he remained faithful to Abraham and Sarah and just as he remained faithful to the Israelites despite the many times they turned from him, so too will he remain faithful to us.
On the cross, Jesus forged a new covenant with us; he has promised to save us from sin and death and to be with us always. These are solid promises that we can rely on, no matter what else is going on in our lives.
God’s covenant is forever. It was his initiative, and he has pledged to uphold it. God 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.
Jesus made a series of claims which are the very foundation of his life and mission. What are they?
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. That is truly a constant that brings us hope. That is truly a constant to which we can hold when all else seems to be changing.
Prayer of The Day
“What a generous and loving God you are! May I never lack the courage to approach you in my weakness and frailty because you show me in these verses of Scripture how much you want me to know your deepest reality. “
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?