“Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death…Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to Him, “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.”
Three of the primary colors of the kaleidoscope which is the Gospel of John are the Divinity of Jesus, eternal life, and the resurrection. The latter two flow out of the first one; it is because Jesus is God that those who come into a relationship with Him have eternal life, a life that is fully expressed in the resurrection of the dead. This is a resurrection that begins today and ends, at God’s appointed time, tomorrow; the tomorrow in which the resurrection trumpet is blown is the last tomorrow, for beyond that tomorrow is a new day without end, without tomorrows. The new day is both the previous day’s tomorrow and a new eternal never-ending day.
In Jesus Christ we experience eternal life today because we are in Him and He is in us. This life is Jesus, being joined to Jesus. The relationship of Eden is more than restored, its consummation is inaugurated, its fullness is initiated. Jesus’ point to Martha and Mary is, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” Yes, Jesus is the Resurrection tomorrow, but He is first the Resurrection right now. Mary and Martha believe that if Jesus had been there that Lazarus would not have died; they also believe that Lazarus would be raised on the last day. What they have not yet seen is that Jesus is the Resurrection, that He is I AM; that “he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.”
Jesus comes to offer a dying people life and is rejected by most of them. He can offer them life because of who He is – God. Only God can give eternal life, and here is the God of Sinai, here is the God of Abraham, condescending to men and women, fulfilling the promises to the Fathers, and He is rejected. The fulfillment of the covenants and promises, the One who Moses and the prophets spoke of, is before their very eyes and He is rejected. The Burning Bush is before them, for if a bush on fire and not consumed is a miracle, how much greater the miracle of Jesus Christ; a man without sin; without sin of action or sin of motive or sin of thought; a man pure and holy; a man in whom His ever-watchful enemies can find no fault; a man with the compassion of God, the righteousness of God, the love of God, the truth of God, the light of God, the judgment of God – God Incarnate, oh what a Man! Surely this exceeds the Burning Bush in majesty and mystery.
Jesus begins in verse 12 with, “I Am the light of the world”, He ends in verse 58 with, “Before Abraham was, I Am.”
The Creator of the Universe, the Creator and Father of mankind, the Giver of the covenants, appears in Jerusalem and proclaims Himself just as He proclaimed Himself on Sinai, and we attempt to stone Him. He offers us life and we offer Him death.