The Works of

Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee

1 October

Jesus said: “Before Abraham was, ‘I AM’!”

John 8:58

‘The Jews said to Him: “You are not yet fifty years old! And have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them: “Verily, verily, I say to you — before Abraham was, ‘I AM!'”‘ John 8:57-58.

Calvin comments: “(The Jews) try to refute Christ’s saying (that Abraham rejoiced and saw His day) — as impossible! In that He Who was not yet fifty years old, made Himself on a par with Abraham who had died centuries before.

“Christ was not even thirty-four years old. But they allow Him to be somewhat older, so as not to seem too stiff and precise in dealing with Him! (It was as) if they said: ‘You cannot make yourself as old as that (Abraham), even if you were to claim to be already fifty years old!’….

“Unbelievers judge only from the appearance of the flesh…. Therefore Christ reminds them that He possessed something greater and higher than human appearance, (something higher) which is hidden from the senses of the flesh and seen only by the eyes of faith….

“In this way, He might be seen by the holy fathers — before He appeared openly in the flesh…. He uses different verbs. ‘Before Abraham was born, “I AM!”‘

“By these words, He excluded Himself from the ordinary number of men…. (He) claims for Himself a heavenly and divine power, the perception of which was diffused from the beginning of the world throughout all ages!…

“The words may be explained in two ways…. Some think it simply applies to Christ’s eternal divinity, and compare it to that passage of Moses — “I AM that I AM!’ (Exodus 3:14)…. I extend it much further!…

“Christ’s power and grace – inasmuch as He is the Redeemer of the world — were common to all ages (right down to the very end of time and beyond)! It therefore fits in with the saying of the Apostles: ‘Christ yesterday and today and for ever!’ (Hebrews 13:8)….

“The context seems to demand this interpretation. He had earlier said that Abraham longed with a burning desire for His day. As this seemed unbelievable to the Jews, He adds that He Himself was — also then!…

“He was even then acknowledged as the Mediator, by Whom God was to be appeased…. That the grace of the Mediator flourished in all ages, depended on His eternal divinity….

“This saying of Christ, contains a remarkable statement of His Divine Essence!… He does not say ‘I used to be’ or ‘I was,’ but ‘I AM‘ — signifying a condition uniformly the same from the beginning to the end!” For Jesus said: “Before Abraham was — ‘I AM’!” Do you believe that?