Jesus spoke with power and wisdom. He performed many miracles. He beckoned people to follow Him. Yet many people still did not understand that He was the promised Messiah.
“That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”
“Who are you?” They demanded.
Jesus replied, “The One I have always claimed to be.”
John 8:24-25 NLT
But Jesus knew that when He finally fulfilled His earthly mission, and they saw Him die on the cross, rise from the dead, and ascend to heaven, then they would finally understand.
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM He.” – John 8:28 NLT
When Jesus uttered those words, the Jews had no idea what He was talking about. But soon they would witness the crucifixion and resurrection. Soon they would no longer be able to deny that Jesus was who He said He was.
As the people continued to debate His identity, He finally made a statement that they could no longer ignore. He said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” With that statement, Jesus echoed the very words that God had proclaimed to Moses from the burning bush. (Exodus 3:13-15) The Jews knew what Jesus meant when He said this, and His proclamation demanded a response. They either needed to stone Him for blasphemy or fall on their knees and worship Him as God.
We are faced with the same choice today. We have the historical evidence of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We have both the Old Testament prophecies and the New Testament testimonies. We do not get to remain neutral about who Jesus is. When we stand before God, the deciding factor for our eternal destination will be what we did with Jesus!
God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now He commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to Him. For He has set a day for judging the world with justice by the Man He has appointed, and He proved to everyone who this is by raising Him from the dead. – Acts 17:30-31 NLT
For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11 CSB