Our sermon on October 30, 2011 was about Jesus’s statement in John 8:58, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Abraham is a crucial figure in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Understanding his story found in Genesis 12-25 is important for understanding much of the Bible. In brief summary, God promises to bless all the earth through Abraham’s offspring and Jesus is that offspring that blesses the whole earth.
In John 8, Jesus argues with a crowd of people in the Temple about their link to Abraham. He says they may be physically descended from Abraham, but spiritually, they reject the truth of God and the one God sends, so they must be descended from someone else. Then, the Jesus who we like to consider nice and soft, tells these people that they are children of the Devil because they have not believed in him. This is a difficult statement to receive. Over the course of chapter 8 Jesus says many things about himself and we see that some of the crowd believes and some of the crowd rejects him. There are at least five things we can learn about Jesus from his own mouth in his discussion in John 8:31-59:
1. Jesus is the great emancipator who wields truth. He doesn’t come to overthrow a government, but to overthrow the oppression of sin. He doesn’t come to rescue only Israel, but the whole world. He comes wielding truth, not war implements. This is why many miss their Messiah, they were worried about Roman oppression, when Jesus’s concern was their spiritual oppression which was much more serious.
2. Jesus is the one rejected by men. His rejection by the Jewish leaders points forward to how the non-Jews, or Gentiles, will receive him and be blessed just like God had promised Abraham. He was rejected because of his teaching and who he claimed to be and soon in John, he would be rejected to the point of the cross. But he would overcome this rejection and rise from the dead.
3. Jesus is the sinless one. He stands before this crowd of people and asks them in verse 46, “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” They come up with not one instance. He is the one uniquely qualified to eradicate sin, because he didn’t have to deal with his own sin. He overcame sin in his life, in his death, and in his resurrection so that he can overcome my sin and your sin today and in the age to come.
4. Jesus is the one honoring the Father. Throughout Israel’s history they failed in honoring God in the manner in which they ought to have. But Jesus honors the Father perfectly, He is the true son of Abraham, he is the true Israel who honors the father perfectly.
5. Jesus is eternally superior. He is before Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, etc. in terms of both existence and authority. He is the one who was, who is, and who is to come. He created all things and all things exist for his glory. They day will come when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
So the question is, do you believe in him? These are words from his mouth. Is he your Lord?