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Basic Bible: Jesus’ Claim to Deity

John 8:31-38, 48-56, 58-59

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him . . .” (v. 31). The audience which Jesus addressed did not believe on Him in the sense that New Testament believers believe on Him. This audience heard the New Testament for the very first time when Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They did not understand what it meant to be made free. They held the view that they were the promised seed of Abraham and were never in bondage to any man.

Jesus told them that they, as the servants of sin, could not claim residency in the house (v. 35). The house is that of God the Father. Residency is dependent upon keeping the law of Moses. The law makes all men servants of sin because no man can keep the law. The Son alone is not a servant of sin and has made New Testament believers free in that He has fulfilled the law for them.

In verse 38, Jesus stated that He speaks of that which He has seen with “my Father” and that they do that which they have seen of their father. They sought to kill Jesus (v. 37). In verse 39, Jesus told them that they were not the sons of Abraham because they did not do the works of Abraham. Jesus’ words did not sit well with the Jews and they accused Jesus of being a Samaritan and being demon possessed (v. 48).

Believers see the Father through the Son (Jn. 14:9). Jesus’ reply in verses 49-51 is that of God the Father. God the Father is honored by God the Son. God the Father is dishonored by them who dishonor the Son. God the Son does not seek personal glory. The glory which the Son seeks is the glory of the Father who judges.

In verse 51, Jesus states the judgment of the Father. One who keeps the sayings of the Son honors the Father. One who honors the Father shall live. Those who honor the Son shall never see death because they honor the Father. One honors the Father by keeping the sayings of the Son. The Son’s focus is ever upon the Father.

The Jews to whom Jesus spoke did not hear that which believers hear. They did not see the Father through the Son because they did not recognize the Son. They saw Jesus making Himself greater than Abraham and greater than the prophets. They saw Jesus as doing the very thing which they did. They assumed a position of righteousness which they obtained through that which they did. They sought to honor themselves. They did not seek to honor the Father. Only those who seek to honor the Father are given the eyes to see the Son. They did not see the Son as honoring the Father when He said, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste death.” They saw Jesus through the eyes of them who seek to attain righteousness through works.

Again, believers see God the Father in Jesus’ response to the charge that He (Jesus) sought to honor Himself. The Son is not honored by the Son. The Son is honored by the Father. The Father spoke through the Son when the Son said, “. . . ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him” (v. 54, 55). God the Son is not a liar. He speaks for God the Father. God the Father and God the Son give witness that the Jews did not know the Father.

Earlier in chapter 8, Jesus stated that the Jews were not the sons of Abraham because they did not do the works of Abraham. In verse 56, Jesus stated, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” Believers know why Abraham rejoiced “to see my day”. He rejoiced because “my day” was the day in which God the Father fulfilled the promise He gave to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 that “in thee” all families of the earth would be blessed. The day which Abraham saw and rejoiced for seeing was future to Abraham’s life span in the flesh. Abraham saw the future fulfillment of the blessing that all families of the earth would receive. Abraham saw members of every family of the earth be blessed as he had been blessed.

Believers know what Abraham saw. He saw others doing that which he had done. He saw members of every family of the earth believing God. He saw countless numbers do his works of believing and having their belief counted for righteousness. Today, believers rejoice because we have seen that which is yet future. We rejoice as Abraham rejoiced.

The Jews had no understanding of that which Jesus said. They questioned how that Jesus could have seen Abraham. They thought His words to be nonsense because Jesus could not have witnessed something which took place before the close of Abraham’s earthly life.
Jesus had not said that He saw Abraham rejoice but He responded by making it known that the constraint which the Jews placed upon Him of not yet being of fifty years of age did not apply because “Before Abraham was, I am.”

I AM is the name of God (Ex 3:14); it speaks His self-existence; He is the First and the Last (Rev. 1:8). “The same was in the beginning with God” (Jn. 1:2). All the words which the Son spoke were given to Him by the Father (Jn. 12:49). God the Father proclaimed Jesus to be the self-existent God.

The Jews did not hear the voice of the self-existent God. They did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to Abraham; they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to Moses. They heard the voice of their father who said, “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4).

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