Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”
Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’
Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I honour Myself, My honour is nothing. It is My Father who honours Me, of whom you say that He is your God.
Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
[John 8:51-59 NKJV]
‘They took up stones to throw at Him;’. Have you ever felt that in an interaction with someone? That they are throwing stones? I am sure that every one of us has felt that antagonism. Sometimes we have risen up and opposed such a thing — or maybe we have run away. But what did our Lord do in this circumstance?
What He did was removed Himself. He did not run. He did not oppose. He left the situation. He went ‘through the midst of them, and so passed by.’ Know that Jesus will always do this in the face of our antagonism. He passes by.
They said to Him ‘You are not yet fifty years old’, and — as an accusation — simply means that ‘you are not who you say you are’. They said that Jesus was too young and inexperienced according to their philosophy, which demanded adherence to certain definitions. They struggled, not knowing Jesus’ truth.
And before He left their company, Jesus made this astonishing statement, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’, meaning ‘I exist’; expressing His eternal presence and uttering the words, which the Jews would know as the name of Father God. This was truth that they could not countenance, and they determined to kill Him.
‘Jesus hid Himself’. How He did this we are not told, but we know that if we reject Him in our lives, we cannot see Him. Conversely, when we accept Him completely, we are ‘hidden with Christ in God.’ [Colossians 3:3b NKJV]
All the arguments and provocations of His accusers are of nothing. Jesus holds to His position, knowing that He is safe in the protection of the Father. As we are, if we hold to Jesus Christ.
A little child is certain of its parents, but uncertain about everything else, therefore it lives a perfectly delightful healthy life.
[from ‘The Love of God’]
GEORGE and GILL STEWART