“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’” (John 8:58)
Here in the 8th Chapter of John’s gospel we find words that infuriate millions. Jesus claims to be: “I am”, Almighty God Himself. Why so many would find these words infuriating is because He excludes the claims of all other religions and gods and deities. That is offensive because it tells so many that their philosophies and ideologies, their thoughts and ideas about the nature of life and happiness, the existence and essence of God, are all wrong if they do not include Jesus as the central tenet of their beliefs. But that belief in Him is the fruit of wisdom of the Spirit of God, not the faulty wisdom so valued by earthly systems, religions, and organizations.
This was true of the religious leaders of the Jews who knew exactly the implication of Jesus’ claim. Jesus had never held back the truth from anyone even if they found it offensive, especially if it targeted their own sinfulness. Although the religious leaders of the Jews claimed to know and speak for God, they did not walk in obedience to Him for they had no love or compassion for the poor or sinners. Jesus’ words of authority and truth challenged their authority and power. He was someone to be eliminated not emulated, let alone obeyed.
Yet the same words Jesus spoke that angered them fills the repentant sinner with peace, hope and comfort. This man who performed all the mighty signs, wonders, and miracles and who spoke the words of God was obviously a righteous servant of the Lord. For such a one to utter blasphemy would be completely out of character. But many today reject this truth. Jesus to them is just another wise man on a par with Moses, Buddha, Mohammed, Gandhi, or L. Ron Hubbard. None of these men, in fact no person who has ever lived is equal to Jesus. The words of Jesus declaring His divinity tells us that He is infinitely superior to all men: He is God incarnate. Faith in Him is the only true faith there is. And this truth aggravates people who want to control their world according to their own desires, not the Lord’s will. True wisdom to know and live by comes only by faith in Jesus.