Before Abraham was, I am.
John 8:58 (NRSV)
The Gospel appointed for today is John 8:51–59 and it shows us that social distancing was not around in Jesus’s time. Once again, his contemporaries tried to trip him up as they cornered him in the temple. Yet once again, he bested them. And then, apparently because the temple was very crowded, he hid himself and escaped from the temple.
Now the heart of this exchange focused on Jesus’s claim that whoever kept his word would never see death. Wait, they said. Abraham died, the prophets died. Who do you think you are? And how do you get off saying you’ve actually seen Abraham. You’re not even 50.
And just as they bend over to get the rocks to stone him with, Jesus tells them, “Before Abraham was, I am.”
What’s happened here reveals a profound thing about Jesus. He has been present from the beginning. John had, of course, already alluded to this in the prologue to his Gospel: In the beginning was the Word…all things were made through him…and this Word has become flesh and dwells among us.
And he is among us. And he will be among us. And because of his grace, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is ours too, even in these dark times, now and forever more. Amen.
The Rev. Ken Fields