S (Scripture): John 8:56 (Jesus said to the Jewish leaders) “Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see my day. He saw it and was happy.”
57 “You aren’t even 50 years old!” the Jewish opposition replied. “How can you say that you have seen Abraham?”
58 “I assure you,” Jesus replied, “before Abraham was, I Am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and left the temple.
O (Observation): The Jewish leaders were quite upset that Jesus would dare to equate himself with the great “I AM”! They were so indignant they wished to throw stones at Jesus! A visceral response to such a bold statement. They didn’t even try to think it through or pray about it. Just a knee-jerk reaction.
Jesus was right, but the Jewish leaders couldn’t let go of their systemic religious priorities: God is one! No other God comes before the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
God’s people were wrong.
A (Application): Feels nice to have 2,000 years of the Christian Church to look back and say to these Jewish leaders: “Fools!” Don’t you know?!?! This is Jesus, the one promised of old to Abraham, David, and the prophets. Jesus is the ONE to make all things new!”
But wait…we have had 2,000 years to decipher this truth.
And to this day, we still struggle with believing. In fact even Jesus’ disciples struggled.
So, what do we make of all this? Should we throw faith and belief away? Certainly not!
Perhaps knowing that God’s people got God wrong leads us to remember that we can also get God wring from time to time. Maybe we can be so wrong about how God works.
But we hold on to faith that Jesus is the I AM. Jesus is God in the flesh. He heals. He makes us one with God.
Perhaps that is enough. To know that I was baptized into a death like his, that I might walk around today as one forgiven and set free to love God and neighbor.
P (Prayer): Lord, may we receive your Spirit to help guide and direct us this day. Amen.