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. John 8:58
Jesus was called many things by those that opposed him and his ministry. In the verses just before this, he was called a Samaritan and demon-possessed. As part of his response Jesus says in Jesus-style “before Abraham was born, I am!” They were so enraged by these words that they immediately tried to kill him. Why? Rewind to Exodus 3:14 when Moses is negotiating with God because he didn’t want to accept the task God was sending him on. Among all his excuses and tricks he asks God, (my paraphrase) “If I tell them the God of their fathers has sent me and they ask what his name is, what should I say?” And God’s answer was, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you”.
Aha… so Jesus was making a massive and bold statement to his hearers that he is God. He claims eternal preexistence and uses this present tense of the verb to show his eternal presence and being. It’s no wonder they tried to stone him. It was blasphemy for anyone to claim to be God. In this case however, they failed to see that it was the truth. Jesus indeed was and is God!
Pray this prayer: Lord Jesus. Thank you for this powerful truth that you are God, the only true and living God. Thank you that when I come to you, I come to one who predates everything I will ever know, one who made it all and one who is all powerful. Help me to live with the confidence and faith that this truth brings and to live with it burning in my heart. In your precious name, amen.