“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’” (John 8:58)
It seems that every time that Jesus spoke with the religious leaders of the Jews, He antagonized them. The reason is that He spoke words of authority and truth which ran contrary to the rules of the bureaucratic Jewish religious system. The leaders of the Jews could not accept these truths because they felt that Jesus challenged their authority and power and so was someone to be eliminated. Rightly did Jesus call them children of the devil for though they claimed to know God and to be His followers, they did not walk in obedience to Him. They had no love or compassion for the poor or sinners.
Yet the same words Jesus spoke that angered the Pharisees fill us with peace, hope and comfort. The most wonderful thing He said which the Jews felt was blasphemous was “Before Abraham was, I am.” The Jews got really angry because they knew He was equating Himself with God, saying that He was Yahweh. If they had been wise and humble this would not have angered them as much as cause them to wonder. This man who performed all these mighty signs, wonders and miracles and who spoke the words of God was obviously a righteous servant of the Lord. For such a one to utter blasphemy would be out of character. Then it would have dawned on them that He had to be who He said He was.
Many today still refuse to accept this truth. Jesus to them is just another righteous man on a par with Moses, Buddha, Mohammed or L. Ron Hubbard. But Jesus does not give us this option for He is infinitely superior to all men: He is God incarnate and faith in Him is the only true faith there is. And such truth still aggravates people who want to form and control their world according to their own desires, not the Lord’s will. Despite this, the believer must continue to proclaim the truth of eternal life by faith in Him alone.