‘Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’
Jesus’ words are recorded in John 8:56-58, and it is one of many times when He really made some folks mad by His choice of words. He calls Himself “I Am,” which is the same as calling Himself God in the eyes of the Jewish people. Right after these verses the people got ready to stone Him, but He miraculously escapes from the crowd.
I wonder if Jesus had a glint in His eye when He heard them say, “You are not yet fifty years old.” Humanly speaking, that statement was true. But we know from the beginning of John’s gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (1:1-2). Jesus is the Word, so He has been around from the beginning. He’s just a bit older than fifty…
It’s amazing how holy joy (that of Jesus and of Abraham) could inspire so much anger. But how often does that happen in our world? Genuine faith tends to freak people out. Being confronted with the truth exposes all of our lies. Praise God that He is merciful and welcomes us into His family, even when we struggle to understand who Jesus is.