Jesus, the I AM
Four ways this text reveals Jesus as the inestimably Valuable One:
- Jesus, the Good (48–51)
- Their criticism (48)
- His aim (49–51)
- In spite of their accusations and ad hominem attacks, Jesus continues to appeal to them. He persists in warning them of the judgment to come. They are threatened by his glory, but he is showing them that his glory is actually their good–the way they avoid judgment!
- Christ’s glory redefines what is good in our lives (e.g., suffering).
- An answer to their second question (53b)
- Invalid assumption (54a)
- They thought that Jesus is engaged in shameless self-promotion.
- Corrective: The Father glorifies the Son.
- Invalid affirmation (54b–55)
- They thought that the One True God was their God.
- Corrective: The Son knows and obeys the Father.
- Jesus is the only One who had a right to promote himself, yet he did not. Our self-promotion, whether in business, education, or religion, reveals our sinful arrogance and is condemnable. But Jesus the Son humbled himself when we weren’t humble and died the death we deserved for our pride, so that we might be accepted as righteous as the Son. This is the gospel.
- An answer to their first question (53a)
- Abraham’s place (cp. Gen 12.1–3): exalted but not ultimate
- Abraham’s joy (56): joy in the One who is Ultimate
- Perhaps a reference to some point in Abraham’s life when God revealed to him that the Messiah would come.
- Perhaps a reference to God’s revelation to Abraham after the latter had died that he would in fact see the day of the Messiah (cp. Heb 11.39).
- Spiritual leaders are not ultimate. They are only as good as they direct people to Christ. The greatest human leaders are limited, not ultimate.
- Three affirmations:
- Jesus preexisted Abraham
- Jesus is Yahweh, the One True God (cp. Ex 3.13–14): emphasis on his independence
- Jesus has come to fulfill the covenant promises (cp. Ex 6.3ff.): emphasis on his immutability
- This is why we celebrate, worship, follow, believe, submit to, obey Jesus. There is none like him.