5 Mar. John 8:21-59

5 Mar. Jesus uses God's own personal name

"Again, Jesus said to the people, 'I will leave you, and you will look for me, but you will die in your sins. You cannot come where I am going.'"

"So the Jews asked, 'Will Jesus kill himself? Is that why he said, 'You cannot come where I am going?'"

"Jesus said, 'You people are from here below, but I am from above. You belong to this world, but I don't belong to this world. So I told you that you would die in your sins. Yes, you will die in your sins if you don't believe that I AM he [Yahweh].'"

"They asked, 'Then who are you?' Jesus replied, 'I AM what I have told you from the beginning'... So Jesus said to them, 'When you lift up the Son of Man, you will know that I AM he [Yahweh]...'"

"The Jews said to Jesus, 'Now we know that you have a demon in you! Even Abraham and the prophets died. But you say, "Whoever obeys my teaching will never die." Do you think you are greater than our father Abraham who died?...'"

"Jesus answered... 'Your father Abraham was very happy that he would see my day. He saw that day and was glad!' The Jews said to him, 'You have never seen Abraham! You are not even 50 years old!' Jeus answered, 'I tell you the truth; before Abraham was even born, I AM [Yahweh]'"

"When Jesus said this, the people picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus hid himself, and then he left the Temple."

          (John 8:21-59)



Today's Bible passage is a long one and we often miss the meaning because the key words are so strung out and they don't translate well into English! We've shortened the passage to highlight Jesus's message; if you want to read the whole passage in your own Bible, you'll find it in John 8:21-59.

In this encounter with the Pharisees, Jesus warns them that they will “die in your sins if you don’t believe that I AM he” (John 8:24).

The Pharisees are incensed as ‘I AM’ sounds like the Hebrew pronunciation of God’s personal name ‘YHWH’ (‘Yahweh’ or ‘Jehovah’, meaning ‘I am’, ‘I am he’ or ‘I am who I am’) which Jews were forbidden to speak out of reverence (see Exodus 3:14).

The Pharisees remind Jesus that, as Jews, they are the heirs of Abraham’s covenant agreement with God (see Genesis 17:7).

Jesus claims that Abraham rejoiced at his coming. The Pharisees point out that Jesus is not yet fifty years old and respond, “You have never seen Abraham” (who died eighteen hundred years earlier).

Jesus replies, “before Abraham was even born, I AM!” (John 8:57-58).

The Pharisees are furious that Jesus has apparently used God’s personal name, I AM, for himself, and they try to stone him to death for what they believe is blasphemy (see Leviticus 24:16). But Jesus escapes from the Temple courts and hides away.

The personal name of God, 'I AM', given to Moses at the burning bush in the Sinai desert (Exodus 3:14) appears many times in the Jewish scriptures (our 'Old Testament'), but we miss this because of the way this was recorded in Hebrew. The Jews believed that God's personal name (YHWH or 'I AM') was too sacred to be spoken, so, in place of 'YHWH' they used the word 'Adonai', usually translated 'LORD' (in capital letters). Wherever you see the word 'LORD' in capitals in the Old Testament, the Hebrew says 'Adonai', but what is MEANT is 'YHWH' or 'I AM' - God's personal name!

We may not recognise that Jesus was claiming God's personal name when he said "Before Abraham was even born, I am." But the Jewish crowd knew exactly what he was claiming, and they "picked up stones to throw at him" for what they believed was blasphemy!

The photo (by Daniel) shows Abraham's tomb at Hebron.

You can read more of Jesus's teaching @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/jesus-claims-gods-person…/

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