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Jul 4, 2021

Scripture Reading: John 8:48-59

This section is the ending of John's record of a long interchange between Jesus and the Jewish leaders (and others) following the Feast of Tabernacles. The focus, increasingly, is the identity of Jesus and the reaction of His hearers to Him. Their initial perplexity at what He was saying became hostility and, finally, open violence.

In our passage there is a staggering promise and a more staggering declaration. The wondrous promise is founded in the wondrous Person of Christ. Both the promise and the declaration are introduced by the sobering words "Truly, truly."

The promise here is this … "Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death" (Jn 8:51). Of course, what is in view is not physical death, but spiritual death … the second death (cf. Rev 2:11; 20:14) … everlasting separation from God. The horror of physical death is but an illustration of the greater horror of spiritual death. It is the unspeakable reality of a separation from God and, therefore, from life, that Christians never experience.

The stunning promise of John 8:51 rests on the stunning Person declared in John 8:58. "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was I am." If language means anything, this is as clear a statement of the divinity of Jesus in John's gospel. It is a statement, not only of the existence of Jesus before Abraham, but of the eternal existence of Jesus before all of creation. It is an echo of God's name, revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14 … "I AM WHO I AM."

In all our days, and in all our ways, let us be careful to give Jesus all His due because He is, in truth, YHWH the Son.