52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Jesus claims to be the “I am”.
Amen, amen, I say unto you. With these words, John signals what the Lord is going to say is very very important. The Jewish leaders had just insinuated that Jesus was of illegitimate birth, and this is an important part of the reply of Jesus. He tells us that God is his father, yet He claims so much more. The great “I am” name is the holiest name for God that the Jews knew, and Jesus is claiming the “I am” status.
I first encounter the “I am” name in Exodus, when Moses is talking to God. “Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” I think the Jewish mind would automatically go back to this chapter when they heard the claim of Jesus, and not believing the claim of Jesus, they were convinced they were hearing the highest of blasphemy.
Of course, they were not hearing blasphemy at all, but rather the truth, but they had not ears to hear. Instead they reached down automatically for stones, for their minds were filled with loathing towards the very One who could save them. The One who has been self existent throughout eternity, the One who was there in the beginning, the One before which all men will one day appear. That ONE, the great “I am” has said, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” If I am to find life at all, it is by believing that Jesus is who He said he was. The book of John is a fine place to find out about Jesus, the Savior of the world. Why not start reading there now?
Crown Him With Many Crowns
1. Crown Him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon His throne;
Hark! how the heav'nly anthem drowns
All music but its own;
Awake my soul, and sing
Of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Thro' all eternity.
2. Crown Him Lord of life,
Who triumphed o'er the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife
For those He came to save;
His glories now we sing
Who died, and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring,
And lives that death may die.
3. Crown Him the Lord of peace,
Whose pow'r a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease,
And all be pray'r and praise:
His reign shall know no end,
And round His pierced feet
Fair flow'rs of paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet.
4. Crown Him the Lord of love;
Behold His hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified:
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For Thou hast died for me:
Thy praise and glory shall not fail
Lyrics: Verses 1, 2, 4: Matthew Bridges; Verse 3: Godfrey Thring
Music: George Job Elvey