When Jesus was in Jerusalem for the feast, he had a revealing discussion about Abraham with the religious leaders. He told them that Abraham was glad to see Jesus’ day come. This didn’t compute, since Abraham was long dead, except that Jesus is the eternal I AM…
51 Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”
52 At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
Jesus proclaimed that before Abraham was born, he was already in existence. He used the words ‘I am,’ which caused the religious leaders to pick up stones to stone him. Why? Because Jesus was making a statement that he was equivalent to the one in Exodus 3 who said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ Jesus has made the ultimate claim – he is Yahweh. Jehovah. YHWH.
Jesus’ opponents had difficulty wrapping their heads around this, yet they didn’t have the benefit of the resurrection on their side. The resurrection of Jesus is what unlocks his statements about Abraham. The resurrection of Jesus – his raising of his temple in three days – proves his eternality.
When Jesus was crucified, his crime was blasphemy: he claimed full equality with Father God. It wasn’t stirring up an insurrection. It was his claim of divinity, which he proved through the resurrection.
Colossians 1 speaks of Jesus as the creator of all things and the sustainer of all. How merciful that I AM made himself available in humility as a man to grace us with his presence. He is available to each of us, yet he can just as easily hide himself from those who pick up stones against him.
Consider the Son who is one with the Father.
Jesus – I AM.