“Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 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.
Many try to characterize Jesus as meek and mild, but I think it is a mischaracterization. During His ministry on earth, He was caring and kind, but He was never weak and afraid of others, especially when encountering the religious leaders of His day.
After a lengthy exchange with a group of Pharisees, Jesus once again appears to indirectly make Himself equal with God, by claiming to be the same “I am” Abraham knew thousands of years earlier. It was a claim of existing outside of time as we know it and the Jews recognized there is only one way Jesus could make such a statement and His opponents recognized the claim right away which is why they intended to stone Him right then and there.
Let’s remember the seven I Am statements of Jesus –
- I am the Bread of Life
- I am the Light of the World
- I am the Door of the Sheep
- I am the Resurrection and the Life.
- I am the Good Shepherd.
- I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
- I am the True Vine.
Finally, let’s spend some time thinking about this verse –