The Mob Is Out to Get Him
God, enlarge my sense of Jesus’ glory from the beginning of the world.
Read John 8:48–59
48 The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”
49 “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”
52 At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWe see in this passage a glimpse of Jesus’ existence before he became flesh (58). Keep your eyes open for it.
The crowd has become a mob out to get Jesus. Accusing him of being a Samaritan and demon-possessed (48) was extremely insulting. How does Jesus counteract this (49–51)?
Jesus’ statement in verse 51 only infuriates the crowd more. Why do you think they were so angry? Verse 53 is a clue. Jesus contrasts what the crowd claims to believe with the truth of his message (54–56). They claimed to be Abraham’s children but here Jesus implies (56) that they don’t know God because they don’t accept him. Jesus adds insult to injury when he says that Abraham was glad to see his day. We can hear their derision and disbelief in verse 57.
To claim that he existed before Abraham was born, using the name for God, “I AM,” was the final straw for the crowd (58). The fact that they tried to stone Jesus (59) indicates that they thought he was guilty of blasphemy (cf. Lev. 24:16).
A common refrain in the first 11 chapters of John’s Gospel is that Jesus’ “hour”—his death—had not yet come. Despite appearances, he is in sovereign control of events; he is the great I AM. And so Jesus simply slips away from the angry mob (59).
Do you need Jesus to be the great I AM in your life today? Lay your burdens before him and quietly place your trust in him.
What have you learned about Jesus through this passage? Give thanks to God for any new insights you have gained.
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