John 8:48–59 (ESV)
Before Abraham Was, I Am
48 The Jews answered
him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the
judge. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never
taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say,
‘He is our God.’ 55 But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was
glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus
hid himself and went out of the temple.
The saying “I am who I am” did not come from Popeye, but God himself. I want to focus on verse 58. Jesus said “Truly, truly, I
say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” This is a HUGE statement! When Jesus says this, he is in effect saying “I’m God”. This is why in verse 59, they picked up stones to throw at him, because they wanted to kill him.
There is no doubt that the Jews knew what Jesus was saying. If Jesus were trying to say that he lived before Abraham, he would have said “before Abraham, I was.” Jesus IS saying that he was before Abraham, in fact Jesus was active in the
6-days of creation. He worded it so that when he said “I am who I am,” he was using the God’s name, Yahweh. It is the covenant name of the God of Israel, given to Moses when he encountered the burning bush (Exod. 3:14; Heb. ʾehyeh
ʾăšer ʾehyeh) which means “I Am who I Am”. It can also be rendered as “I will be what I will be” or “I create what (ever) I create.” Jesus is speaking the Jew’s code language when he says “I Am who
I Am.” They saw this as blasphemous and wanted to kill him on the spot. As a Christian, we know that Jesus is saying “I Am God”. I never really thought about it until know, but I guess the Jehovah Witness probably
have a problem with this, since they don’t recognize Jesus as God. They do not believe in the Trinity. I’m not picking a fight with them, however, Jesus keeps making these “I AM” statements that they have to explain away
I pray: O Lord, I know and confess that you are God. You had a plan to bring forgiveness and Salvation to your people. Your plan took you to the cross to die for the forgiveness
of sins. God raised you up as an acceptable sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. You are my Lord and my God. Amen.