From the Word
“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM I AM.” John 8:58
The words quoted above are the culmination of a fascinating conversation between Jesus and the leaders of the Jews. They discuss true faith in God, and the substance of that faith. They relied on the fact that Abraham was their father, and that their covenant relationship with God was their obedience to the covenant God made with Abraham. Jesus was pointing them to the God of Abraham who was standing before them as the fulfilment of the covenant God made with Abraham.
They condemned Jesus as demonic for contradicting what they thought was true belief in God. Jesus calls them children of the devil for forsaking true belief in God. Such conversations go on today, as the religious of the world advance their teachings as the truth, and contradictory religious views as false. We Christians make our case alongside the rest. What is the truth?
When you boil down the teachings of all other religions in the world, you are left with a religion of Law that expects followers to produce their own righteousness by obedience. There are variations on the theme, but that is the basic premise of Satan’s teaching, since he is the author of all false religion.
Jesus tells them in our text the truth of God; that He rescued sinners by coming to earth to save them. This is the faith of Abraham. Jesus says that Abraham longed to see His day and saw it. Abraham clearly longed to see the salvation in which he trusted come to pass. But in what sense did he see it? He saw it foreshadowed in the event on Mt. Moriah, when God called him to sacrifice his son Isaac, then provided a ram as substitute. In that event Abraham foresaw what God would do when the Lamb of God took the sins of the world to the cross in our place.
We try to contemplate eternity after we die, since God has promised it is our future. But Jesus points us to the eternity before creation when He says that before Abraham was, “I AM I AM.” He is Yahweh, who has always been and always will be. The timeless God of all came in time, subjected himself to time, and made His time the “fullness of time” (see Galatians 4:4-7) to save us. To contemplate him as eternal, sovereign God of heaven and the universe is difficult, if not impossible. To contemplate Him as Savior who came, suffered, died, and rose to fulfill God’s promise of eternal salvation is not difficult at all. I AM I AM, the God of Abraham, is our deliverer. He died! He rose! He lives! Hallelujah!