“Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham? Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am! At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.”-John 8:56-58 (NLT)
What is it that Jesus said that made the crowd so furious? It was his use of the phrase “I Am”. The name I Am was closely associated to the sacred name of Yahweh that God gave to Israel. When Jesus ascribed that name to himself, he was claiming to be divine. This was considered blasphemy and punishable by stoning.
The crowds would not have been so angry if he had simply confessed to be a great teacher or a prophet; but Jesus was claiming to be the divine Son of God. So was Jesus divine? There are several reasons that we have confidence that Jesus is who he claimed to be.
First is the direct questioning of Jesus’ divine nature by Satan:
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”-Matthew 4:1-3
Why is Satan so concerned about discrediting Jesus’ sonship? Because if Jesus is the Son of God that means that he is divine! It is my personal belief that Satan’s questioning of Jesus’ sonship was not intended to create doubt in the Son of God, Jesus was fully aware of who he is. However, his questioning was intended to cause those around Jesus to begin to question and even doubt Jesus’ claims of deity; which according to scripture was a successful tactic.
Repeatedly we read passages of Jews, chief priests, and rulers questioning the authenticity of Christ’s claims:
“He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, “I am the Son of God.”-Matthew 27:42
Other passages including John 10:24, Luke 23:35, Matthew 27:40, and Matthew 27:54 confirm that his divine nature was being called into question. He wasn’t being scoffed for his teachings or his miracles, only for his claims of divine sonship. Why? Because if he is who he claimed to be, they would be responsible for their actions towards him.
However, Satan’s attack on Jesus’ divine nature is not the only evidence for Christ’s claim of being divine. Next week we will explore six biblical evidences that point to Jesus being the Son of God!
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church