Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54esus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
Before Abraham came to be, I am. The discourse on Abraham’s and Jesus’ credibility continues (cf 8:31-42). Jesus proclaims his preexistence, as already mentioned in the prologue (cf 1:1-3). He repeats the phrase I AM (cf 8:24, 28), which recalls the revelation of the divine name to Moses (cf Ex 3:14). Jesus is greater than Abraham because he is with the Father from the very beginning. He was with the Father in the creation of the universe. He is God’s Word who became flesh and lived among us (cf 1:14).
But the Jews cannot understand and accept Jesus’ teaching because they are so bound to the “Abrahamic tradition.” They see history on the horizontal level only; Jesus seeks to open their eyes to a higher level of history, the history that starts from above.
The argument on “knowing the Father” is repeated (cf 8:38, 55). The reason they cannot accept Jesus as the Messiah is because they do not know the Father. When the Jews can no longer refute Jesus’ arguments, they pick up stones to throw at him. They have recourse to violence, but Jesus is able to evade them.
Do we see ourselves in the Jews, who resort to violence when they have lost the argument?
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending
us Jesus, your only-begotten Son, the divine Word, who became man and lived among us,
to save us and bring us back to you.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.