Who do you think Jesus is?
48 The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”
49 “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honour my Father and you dishonour me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Very truly It ell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”
52 At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
‘Who do you think you are?!’ Ever say that to anyone? I think all of us have at some point. No one likes it when we see someone with too high an opinion of themselves. We get mad. Why? Because everyone wants to be treated in line with who they are; and when someone big notes themselves they want to be treated differently to us. Differently to how we think they should be. And that makes us mad. You can tell what you think of someone by how you treat them.
‘Who do you think you are?’ That’s what the Jewish leaders ask Jesus in today’s passage. Jesus is making outrageous claims; that if you believe what he says, you’ll have eternal life. He’s lifting himself up incredibly high. Giving himself more authority than anyone who’s ever lived.
‘Who do you think you are Jesus?’ The Jewish leaders are mad. They don’t want to treat Jesus any differently. They probably want to treat him as an ordinary pleb, a few rungs lower than them. At best they could treat him as an equal, so long as he plays ball, if he fits into their agenda, their idea of how things are. But he won’t.
Who do you think Jesus is? You can tell by how you treat him.
In verse 58 Jesus tells them who he thinks he is: Before Abraham was born, I am!’ That’s not bad grammar. In Exodus 3 this is God’s own name. The name of the God who comes to save his people out of slavery and give them life. And here he is standing before the Jewish religious leaders; the one the whole Jewish religion was supposed to be about. The one the whole universe is about.
But the leaders treat him like no one special. What about you? Who do you think Jesus is? Do you turn to him for life or do you look elsewhere?
Head: What have you learnt about Jesus today? What have you learnt about yourself?
Heart: When you read Jesus say ‘I am’, what do you feel, if anything? What or who actually makes you feel joy and hope?
Hands: Every day, pray to God that by his Spirit he would turn your heart away from the things you’re hoping in to believe in Jesus for life. Ask someone else to pray for you too.
Prayer: Heavenly Father I thank you so much that you are the God who brings life and that it’s in Jesus that you bring us life. Father forgive me for not treating Jesus as he really is and instead treating other things in my life as if they’re gods who bring life. Please soften my heart to Jesus, turn my heart away from those things to Jesus. In his precious name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Fall Before Him