Today we read the climatic conclusion to Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees and Jews in the temple. Jesus’ words were sharp and divisive. He tells the people that because they do not accept His words, they are children of the devil. Ouch. Jesus was not afraid of controversy!
The conversation contains the typical back and forth misunderstandings as Jesus speaks spiritually and the people respond literally. Jesus ends the conversation with His clearest declaration of divinity…
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple” (John 8:58-59).
The fact that the people picked up stones to kill him meant they understood exactly what Jesus was saying… The notes from the ESV study bible explain…
The words “I am” in Greek use the same expression (Egō eimi) found in the Septuagint in the first half of God’s self-identification in Ex. 3:14, “I am who I am.” Jesus is thus claiming not only to be eternal but also to be the God who appeared to Moses at the burning bush. His Jewish opponents understood his meaning immediately and they “picked up stones” to stone him to death for blasphemy. (ESV Study Bible, Crossway).
Yes, Jesus claimed to be the Eternal God. The same God who created the earth and spoke to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The same God who called and empowered Moses to rescue His people and the same God who strived to rescue His people from apostasy as He worked through Elijah and Elisha. Jesus was there, commanding the armies of angels to protect Elisha in 2 Kings 6 – and sending the Syrian army fleeing in 2 Kings 7. He was there… protecting his wayward people from starvation – proving that He was not only God over Israel, but Lord over all the earth.
This is the God we serve. He was. He is. He will always be!
Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat)
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (Joram)