The power of pre-existent Jesus
John 8 v48-59 “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 honour my Father and you dishonour 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.”
We start this passage which brings a section to a close with some initial name-calling by the Jews. It would end with them picking up stones that were on the ground in the Temple to try and kill Jesus.
Jesus’ reply was this (using my inflection): I am not demon possessed and the proof is I am honouring God my Father, no demon would do that. Secondly, I am not even answering the Samaritan charge because I have already demonstrated the Father loves them as much as you.
They move from name-calling to twisting his words, v52.
Jesus’ reply was this: I never said they wouldn’t taste death, you said that. I said that whoever walks with me will never see it. They will never be overwhelmed by the fear of death.
They move from twisting his words to incredulous defamation, v53.
Jesus reply led to them picking up the stones: I AM!
This was the most incredible, confrontational and boldest statement Jesus ever made.
Some are so earthly focused that they have reduced their relationship with Jesus to all about what happens here and now. But the offer of Jesus is to discover and live your life through the filter of eternity.
Jesus had said many things to the Jews that had got him into trouble but his claim of pre-existence was the one they balked at the most.
Jesus was fully aware of his pre-existence. This was not some re-incarnation understanding. But rather the incarnation of the Son of God in human life-form on earth.
Jesus was fully aware that He existed before this life on earth.
When God revealed himself early in His Word He used the words I AM = I will be whatever I need to be, healer, saviour etc. It is the title of deity. There is no greater title.
Jesus is the I AM. We have read so far that he said: I am the bread of life, 6:35 and I am the light of the world, 8:12.
The Jews saw only the historical manifestation and not the eternal person.
Jesus did not begin 2000 years ago, that was just when the incarnation took place. He had no beginning. He was before beginning. Because of this we can say He has seen it all and He knows it all.
There have been no accidents in your life, neither your birth, nor your death, nor anything in between. He knows the beginning and the end for each one of us.
We can invite Jesus into our existence – but there is a far greater invitation. An invitation for us to live our lives in His pre-existence.
You might not know why some things have happened or why they haven’t. But He knows. We are called to be content in that.
Jesus is able. He is pre-existent and 2,000 years on from his incarnation He is here right now in the place where you are reading this.
The ‘I AM’ stands before you today. That means God is here. The same God who said ‘I will be what I will be.’ The same God who led Israel out of Egypt and sustained them in the desert is here. The same God who entered humanity is here with you now. He is here to live, speak, call, ask, act, decide, love, forgive.