Read: John 8
“I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father taught me.” (John 8:28)
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, your are really my disciples.” (John 8:31)
Just what was Jesus claiming when he declared, “I am he”?
From John 8:58-59, I can see that the Jews considered this statement to be blasphemy worthy of death by stoning. Jesus was claiming God’s identity, the name “I AM WHO I AM” (first revealed to Moses at the burning bush, Exodus 3:14-15), for himself. In effect, Jesus was saying, “I, Jesus, am the LORD; I, Jesus, am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the flesh.”
It doesn’t surprise me that the Law-abiding Jews freaked out and tried to stone Jesus. According to Jesus, my eternal future hinges on my response to this statement. If I don’t believe it, I will die with the burden of my sins, guilty forever with no hope of parole.
But Jesus also said that those who know that Jesus is God are able to know this because Jesus has been lifted up, crucified. I know Jesus is the LORD, because Jesus was crucified.
But more than that, I know Jesus is God because I lifted him up. In a very real way, I have crucified Jesus: my sins brought Jesus to the cross; my forgiveness was sought by Jesus on the cross.
So, because I am guilty of the death of Jesus, I have been given grace to cling to Jesus’ teaching, to know that Jesus is the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Because I am guilty of causing Jesus’ death, I am extended mercy to be Jesus’ disciple, and I will be raised up to eternal life.
This is heavy, hard teaching. No wonder so few had the faith to become God’s disciples.
Jesus is the LORD, the One True God.
LORD God Almighty,
When I begin my prayers to you with these words, I always consider I’m praying to God the Father, the first person of the Trinitarian Godhead. Yet today I acknowledge that Jesus Christ, God the Son, second person of the Trinity is also inescapably the LORD God Almighty.
And I humbly acknowledge that I can’t get my thoughts to comprehend how this might be possible:
That you, LORD God, sent your Son – and you, LORD God, are the Son who was sent;
You, LORD God, sent the Spirit – and you, LORD God, are the Spirit who was sent.
You are Trinity and Unity, the only True God, God alone, the one and only God – and you are Father, Son and Spirit.
You died because my sins made your death necessary. I’m so sorry for my sins that did this, yet so thankful for your mercy that dealt with my sins. LORD God, Jesus, who is the LORD and my Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you.