“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58, NIV84)
Here is another amazing truth statement of Jesus. He claims in the verse above to have existed before Abraham was born. More than that, He claims to be the great “I AM.” He claims to be God. He began the verse above with the familiar words, “I tell you the truth.” What do we do with such statements? Well, I can tell you that the religious leaders picked up stones to kill Jesus because they thought He was guilty of blasphemy. They heard the same words we read above and they were moved to stone Jesus while we, I pray, are led to believe Him. They didn’t misunderstand Jesus. They heard exactly what He was saying and chose to deny its truthfulness. They concluded that Jesus was lying. Worse than that, they believed that He was demon-possessed and guilty of the ultimate spiritual sin: idolatry. They were shocked that Jesus was not only committing idolatry but was claiming equality with God, making Himself to be God.
So, how do we take the words in this verse? Do we take them literally and understand them the way Jesus meant them? Do we find them offensive, impossible, and so explain them away? We need to understand that it is important that Jesus is both human and divine. No human being alone would be able to redeem the world from the eternal price that is due because of our sin. The price needs to be larger than the debt. That is why the Scriptures say that we were not redeemed by silver or gold but by the precious blood of Jesus. The implication is that the blood of the Son of God was the only offering powerful enough to remove sin and defeat death.
Reflect on that just for a moment and you will also come to realize how much God loves and values you and me. He was willing to sacrifice His beloved Son in order to redeem and save us.