Before Abraham Was, I Am
Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’
~ John 11:25-26
In his early ministry, Jesus performed miracles and taught, but was fairly cryptic in the claims he made about himself. As his earthly ministry advanced towards its end, he became more overt in his claims.
Modern man seeks to explain Jesus as a teacher of ethics, simply a good man speaking the truth to power. But Jesus himself doesn’t allow for such a tepid assessment. Both Jesus’ contemporary followers and enemies knew this. The Pharisees knew exactly who Jesus was claiming to be, and they knew that many believed in him, so they sought to kill him.
“‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, and you will indeed die in your sins.’
‘Who are you?’ they asked…
‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ ” (John 8:23-25, 58)
It’s offensive, this notion that we need Jesus to save us. We’re independent by nature, and our mind recoils at our utter dependence on a savior. We resist the notion that our sins require any sort of atonement. But it’s true, and our sin made Christ’s death necessary.
As I believe C.S. Lewis wrote, Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic or the messiah. His claims leave no room for any other conclusion. Who do you believe him to be?
Lord Christ, let me always dwell in knowledge of your divinity. Amen.
~ Stephen Peterson