Jesus, Our Hope of Life Eternal

John 8: 51-59

Gen 17: 3-9 / Psa 105

Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I am!
(John 8:58)

Our life is like a drop of water

In the ocean of eternity;

But if you want to live forever,

Let Jesus’ Word guide your destiny.

Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” 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. 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.” They said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell 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)

Reflection

It is quite obvious in this conversation between Jesus and the Jews that our Lord was not getting across to them, simply because they would not believe that He came from God, and was indeed God. Why our Lord kept the dialogue going was only for the benefit of His apostles and for us, future generations of Christians. He showed them that He could speak boldly to the crowds, without fear of bodily harm, “easily slipping away from the temple grounds.” They could not kill Him because His time had not yet come. It was the same situation in Nazareth, where His town mates were infuriated by His words, and tried to kill Him by hurling Him down from a cliff, but “He passed through the midst of them and went away” (Lk.4:30). These were enough signs that he was indeed what He claimed to be. But the Jews were so blinded by their anger, concluding that Jesus was committing blasphemy by claiming intimacy with Yahweh, (and even existing before Abraham), that they would rather commit murder than give Him the benefit of the doubt.

It is only for the sake of those who will be saved that our Lord stated the obvious: “Before Abraham was born, I am!” If you do not believe these words, then you are just as deaf and blind as the Jews who wanted to stone our Lord in the temple grounds. Jesus assures us, “Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” Obeying His word means believing in everything that He has spoken in the Gospel. His words are not only the truth, they are the way to life eternal itself. Only those who do not believe in His words will “die in their sin.”

Jesus might as well be “hiding Himself” from those who do not believe in Him and in His words. But for us who have come to know Him and love Him for what he has done for us, He has filled our hearts with joy, as well as the hope of someday sharing His glory with God our Father in heaven.

As I stood on the beach one morning, catching my breath after jogging, the beauty of the rising sun coming up from the flat horizon made me pause to ponder my life – like a drop of water, no, a speck of sand in this vast ocean of God’s creation. How can this speck of microscopic being, no more significant than the particles of sand beneath my feet have any importance to the Maker of creation? And yet Jesus said, “Even the hairs of your head are counted” (Mt.10:31). His Father even promised: “Even if a mother forgets her infant, I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

What do I have to do, Lord, in order to be worthy of your great Love and be assured of your Kingdom? Beloved Father, Your Word shall be my daily occupation, writing about it, sharing and declaring Your Good News in the assembly of our community. “Let the words of my mouth meet with your favor, keep the thoughts of my heart before you, Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:15). Amen.

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