Read Genesis 17:3-9, Psalm 105 and John 8:51-59
“You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’”
While teaching about Holy Communion in John 6, Jesus told us: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.” (John 6:51).
In this same light, Jesus is saying to us today: “if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51).
Now, is it the case when we live upright lives we would never die? What do we say about the Saints who died and were buried?
The key to understanding this passage is to bear in mind that Jesus was not simply talking about our life on earth, He was talking about our true Life, the Life beyond, the Life that Never Ends.
It is on the basis of this supernatural life that Jesus could say to the Jews: “Before Abraham was, I am.”
This is was just too difficult for the Jews to understand because they were still thinking in terms of our physical life. For them, Jesus was probably out of his mine by claiming to have existed before Abraham.
In truth, Jesus was not only teaching them about the existence of life beyond the grave, but He also made it quite clear to them that He is God. Just as God revealed himself to Moses as “I Am” in Exodus 3:14, Jesus reveals his true identity as “I am.” Note that Jesus did not say “I was” (past tense), rather he said “I Am” meaning He always is and will be forever.
The Jews couldn’t take it any longer; everything Jesus was saying did not make sense to them so they picked up stones to throw at Him.
There are certain truths we cannot grasp unless we believe. Faith is like a sixth sense which enables us to grasp and understand those truths that the ordinary human mind cannot understand.
Even though Abraham was childless, our first reading today recants how God changed his name from Abram (which means ‘exalted father’) to Abraham (which means ‘father of a multitude’).
It was with faith that Abraham accepted this change of name and agreed to be called a Father of many nations while he was still childless. This was the same faith Jesus required from the Jews to accept that even though He was less than fifty years old, He already existed before Abraham.
Dear friends, let us put ourselves in the shoes of Abraham? Say you have been praying for something for almost twenty-five years and it has not come to pass. Now God appears to you saying you should change your name, would you believe like Abraham and not give up on God?
The Jews doubted Jesus because they did not believe in the resurrection. Having been privileged to be alive two thousand years later, am I still doubting like the Jews? Do I believe that by keeping the words of Jesus, I will live forever?”
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, bless me with the kind of faith Abraham had. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thursday of the 5th Week of Lent. Bible Study: Genesis 17:3-9, Psalm 105 and John 8:51-59).