56 “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
In today’s reading, Jesus was responding to the accusations of the Jews that He was possessed by a demon. In this response, He declares to them that He is the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham in the book of Genesis. How did Abraham rejoice to see His day? He rejoiced when he believed God. He laughed with joy when the promises of God were declared to him. He rejoiced when a barren womb delivered the promised heir. He rejoiced when God provided for Himself the sacrificial ram in the place of Isaac. He saw, played out right before his eyes, what was actually far off; Jehovah-Jireh (the God-who-provides) providing the sacrificial Lamb for His people in the Incarnate Christ.
Also, we see Jesus declaring his eternality and divinity in the strongest words possible—”Before Abraham was,
“I AM.” He was telling them that, within Him dwelt all the fullness of God. The use of these words also tells us, among other things, that God is the creator of time, and His existence, His love for us, and His lordship transcends all barriers of time. He loved us and chose us from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4).
Isn’t it wonderful that we can look back in history and see what God has done, when so many of those who preceded us could only look forward in faith, seeing the promises from afar? It is a special blessing that we should thank God for.
—Pastor Jay Barfield, Christ Covenant Reformed Church, Billings, Montana
Our Father, we thank you and praise you for the faith that you gave to Abraham to look forward to the coming of Christ and rejoice. We likewise rejoice as we look back to His Incarnation. We rejoice further that He lives and rules today as the great I AM, ruling over the great and the small with justice and mercy. Help us, Lord, to live our lives trusting in the fulfilled promise of our redemption, and the continuing promise of your presence with us.
In Christ’s name, AMEN.