Gospel of John 8: 51-59 Reflection:
We have been reading this story now for a few days, the story of the dialogue of Jesus with the Jews about who Jesus is and his mission.
Jesus begins by saying that if we keep his word we shall never see death. The Jews answer that even the prophets died and then go on to ask Jesus directly who he is.
And Jesus goes on to answer them directly. He tells them that their father Abraham rejoiced to see the day that Jesus arrived on earth. The Jews say that Jesus is not yet fifty so how could he have seen Abraham.
The answer Jesus gives is his direct claim to be God.
The name of God, which was given to Moses via the burning bush, translates to English as ‘I am’ or ‘I am who am.’ The word is so holy that the Jews would not use it, because to use it is to claim to be God.
Jesus says, “I tell you most solemnly, before Abraham ever was, I Am.”
In his own language, Aramaic, Jesus would have used the proper name of God thereby saying directly that he is God.
The Jews could neither understand nor countenance such a claim. It would, to use an Irish phrase, ‘have put their heads away.’
This was the greatest blasphemy imaginable, for a man to say he was God. But then again Jesus had carried out all these miracles, and how could he have done that if he was not a man of God.
Finally, in John 11, we hear how he raised Lazarus from the dead. Mighty works that only God could do, but the Jews still would not believe in him.
After this claim today, the die is cast; for the Jews and Jesus there is no going back, all roads lead to Calvary.