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Jesus, in John 8, makes declarations that are absolutely damnable…if He were not who He said He was. John 8:48-59 is an incredibly offensive account to the Old Testament adhering Jews. Christ claimed that “if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death”. They quickly rebuff “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, and the prophets died…are you greater then our father Abraham…and the prophets! Who do you make yourself to be!“.
I try to place myself in the position of these Jews hearing Jesus say these things. They were so taken-a-back in disbelief that the only logical conclusion they could come up with was that Jesus was possessed by a demon. This was the only explanation that could account for the insanity spewing from His mouth. But Jesus isn’t done yet.
Next, Jesus goes on to say “Your Father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” At this point, I recall to mind the times when I have been involved in conversations with people who are just simply impossible. I can easily remember the feelings of being at an absolute loss for how to even respond to that persons incredibly ridiculous thought processes. Words cannot describe the feeling of going up to a brick wall and trying to beat some sense into it with your head (metaphorically speaking of course). This is what the Jews had to be experiencing. “You are not yet 50 years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Some of Jesus’ audience must have been just about foaming at the mouth. But again, the audacious Jesus isn’t done.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am“. The response by the Jews must have been as involuntary as it was conscious. There must have seemed no other rational way to respond to someone who had just claimed what Jesus had; for Jesus had just claimed to be Yahweh.
“So they picked up stones to throw at Him…“. If I would have been a Jew in that time, and someone had just claimed to be God, the most heinous blasphemy there is…I would have stoned Him too. But make no mistake, Jesus is who He claimed to be.