Who Do You Say That I Am?
"Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do you make yourself out to be?” John 8:53 Speaking to Jesus, this is what the religious leaders wanted to know: Identify yourself, tell us who you claim to be. Notice how often Jesus doesn't really answer a question but instead poses a bit more information beforehand, so that when he actually declares himself there will be no question who he claims to be. Jesus answered: vs 56: "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.” Imagine them scratching their beards, trying to fathom how Abraham could have seen Jesus's day. vs 57: "Then the Jews said to him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?'” So they put it to him. And in the answer he gave, he made it absolutely clear who he was: vs 58: "Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.'” What did he mean? Was this term "I Am," ever used before? Oh yes, and the Rabbis were very aware of just what he was saying. It's found back in the scene where Moses meets God at the burning bush: "Then Moses said to God, 'Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they say to me, "What is his name?" what shall I say to them?” "And God said to Moses, 'I AM who I AM.' And he said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM" has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:13-14 At the burning bush scene, God names himself as "I AM." So when Jesus said that before Abraham was, "I Am," he was declaring that he is the Son of God, equal to God, very God. And they "got it," which is very evident because they took up stones and tried to stone him. The salvation of sinners depends on the recognition of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, very God himself. In fact, Jesus put his followers to the test on this very issue: "When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, 'Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?'” Matthew 16:13 His disciples knew who he was, and were not hesitant to state it: vs 16: "Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Messiah (the Christ) the Son of the living God.'” Note the contrast between the confession of this fisherman, versus the statements of the religious leaders. The Lord is showing clearly that you don't have to be a religious leader to know and understand the Word of God. These illiterate fishermen "got it," while the religious leaders did not. Jesus answered: vs 17: "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." The born-again experience which Jesus said is crucial that every person must have - does not come through intellectual knowledge. Some of the greatest minds don't get it. Some of the least of men – do. Why? Because it doesn't come through knowledge, it comes through REVELATION. "Flesh and blood has not REVEALED this to you, but my Father…" Who do YOU say that Jesus Christ is? If you can’t answer that, ASK him. More About Jesus Christ