The Gospel according to John (8:51-59)
Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
One of the questions most Christian’s struggle with is the divinity and humanity of Jesus. It’s not so much that He was both, but we wonder if he was fully aware of his divinity as a human being. This is a question that goes way beyond our scope here in a few paragraphs but is absolutely within our grasp as we explore our own divinity as human pilgrims. After all weren’t we created in the image and likeness of God! However, maybe what we are called to consider in today’s gospel is what Jesus promises those who keep His word, eternal life.
Let’s consider for a moment our struggles with this promise. First there is our constant struggle with sin and feeling unworthy. Then there is the bar that we measure ourselves with. It is always too high so we will never seem to get to a point where we think we are doing enough or good enough. And last, how can we ever be like Jesus who had to have know who He was and as the Son of God had it made because He had the golden ticket.
As I was thinking about all of this, I was reminded of Philippians 2:6-8 where we hear that Jesus emptied and humbled Himself to become like us. Yes, he knew who He was, but He willingly let all that go so he could share in our humanity to a degree that left no doubt He was all in. And as one of us in ALL things except sin He had the credibility and empathy to teach us and lead us by example. His humility led to an obedience that pointed to the Father in all He said and did. Yes, he says that before Abraham came to be, I AM. But let us never forget His obedience to the Father led Him to Jerusalem, to suffering that none of us could ever imagine, and to a cruel death so that we would never die.
When the divine became human in the form of a little babe the history of mankind was shifted in such a way that life would never be the same. When Jesus, after a public ministry that granted sight to the blind and set captives free processed with his arms loving wrapped around the cross our divinity was assured when He rose from the dead to remove the sting of death and open the gates of heaven forever. The chains of sin and death have been broken. Let us rejoice and be glad
Action of the Day:
As Palm Sunday and the Holiest time of our year approaches let us continue the deep dive into our faith journey and leave the doubt of our worthiness in the desert. Our divinity can never be earned or merited. Allow His grace and mercy to bring you to the surface of divine awareness and be the light this worlds needs in your corner of God’s creation.