A Fitting Sacrifice

John 8: 51-59
Gen 17:3-9 / Psa 105:4-9

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.
(John 8:51)

Life here is but a drop of water
In the ocean of eternity.
If we want to live forever,
Let God’s Word guide our life’s destiny.

Jesus said to the Jews, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” At this the Jews 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. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 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. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” At this, the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham!” Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus hid Himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. (John 8:51-59)


I suppose it was practically impossible for the Jews to accept the claim of Jesus that Yahweh God was His Father, and that He existed long before Abraham was born. The Judaic religion had always been monotheistic, upholding the belief that there is only one God, in contrast to the pagans who believed in the existence of several gods. Most of them had regarded Jesus as perhaps one of the prophets, because it was common knowledge that God could empower His prophets to perform miracles. For them, therefore, Jesus’s claim that He was God was tantamount to blasphemy, and according to Jewish law, deserved to be meted the ultimate punishment of death.

One of the great mysteries in our Christian faith is why God had to undergo a complicated process of establishing His Church among a people who could not understand Him, and who even condemned Him for seemingly contravening their established tradition and belief. But the Messiah did not come just to solve a political problem of the Jews. And if God could make a supreme sacrifice — as Abraham was asked to prove his faith– to save mankind, surely the Israelite nation could have made that leap of faith (as the disciples did) in believing the words of Jesus that He was indeed Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Now we know that the message our Lord was trying to convey was not only for the Jews of His time, who might as well be deaf because they were taking His words literally; Jesus was speaking in the Gospel of St. John to all His followers – Christians of all generations up to the present time. He was saying that His Word is eternal, and His Word is life for all who believe in Him. It is His promise, as God, that whoever heeds His words in the Bible and take them as a rule in his life will never experience death – in the sense that he will inherit eternal life. Jesus is the Word of God and the Giver of life, as He plainly demonstrated in many instances in His brief life on earth. During this season of Lent, let us meditate on the words and life of our Lord in the Gospel, and ask ourselves, “Do I believe and accept the words of Jesus, and accept Him as my Lord and Savior?” Then I should no longer fear the sting of death, because He is the Giver of life.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, not only for giving me this life that I live, but more importantly, for offering me the gift of eternal life in the Father’s kingdom through Your precious Word. I accept Your offer, and pray that my life will be a fitting sacrifice to be worthy of it. Amen.

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