We have already seen Jesus claim to be God, which has caused much angst to many people throughout the centuries. And many people throughout history have tried to prove that Jesus isn’t God, without success. Whether Jesus is God is a crucial question and one I plan to look at again today.
A hotly disputed passage where Jesus claims to be God is in John 8:58 where He is arguing with the Scribes and Pharisees about who God is and His own relationship with Abraham:
“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58).
He did not say “Before Abraham was, I was” meaning he had lived for a very long time, rather He was using the same phrase as in Exodus 3:13-14 where God is speaking to Moses at the burning bush: “13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
The Scribes and Pharisees were in no doubt what Jesus was claiming when He used this loaded phrase, which is why they picked up stones to throw at Him for blasphemy.
As you may know the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, but the Greek version of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint (sometimes translated LXX), which was around during Jesus’ time translates I AM as Egō eimi. This is the phrase Jesus used that so upset the Scribes and Pharisees.
John’s gospel has various, what are known as ‘I AM’, sayings of Jesus and we will look at these over the next few weeks. We will discover how they further highlight different aspects of His character.