‘“I tell you the truth”, Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” – At this, they picked up stones to stone him.
“I am” is one of the most powerful statements Jesus ever said. It is a phrase Jesus says quite a lot in John.
“I am the bread of life” (John 6:35)
“I am the light of the world” (John 8:12)
“I am the door” (John 10:7)
“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11)
“I am the resurrection and the life” (john 11:25)
“I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
“I am the true vine” (John 15:1)
But in this instance – the Jews were ready to kill him. Why? Because “I am” is one of the central meanings of Yahweh; the revered, most holy name of God, and Jesus uses this “I am” statement in the context of positing himself as greater than Abraham, the father of the Jews!
For the Jew, only God is Greater then Father Abraham & here is Jesus saying, before Abraham was ie – before he existed in the past. “I AM”. Jesus is saying, he was present then, and still so now!
This is as close as we come on the lips of Jesus to a direct confirmation of what John said of him in chapter 1, In the beginning was the word, the was with God, the word was God ; The word became flesh and lived among us…”
Here, Jesus is clearly declaring himself as God, and the crowd reacts predictably, just as many readers and thinkers have been reacting ever since.
In Jesus’ day they wanted to stone him for blasphemy. These days, people want to discredit him and those who testified about him (like you and me) as talking nonsense.
Jesus is certainly the eternal son of God, through whom all things were created. Don’t ever be ashamed of following him.