אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה
During the feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, Jesus continued alluding to the fact that He and the God of the Jews, were one and the same, a fact that the religious leaders of the day didn't take too kindly too. John describes a scene in the temple court of women where the Pharisee's are denouncing Christ's testimony that “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Jesus had already been recorded typologically inserting Himself into God's role during the foundational historical story of the Israelites' exodus through the desert. Jesus had already claimed: “I am” the bread of life (John 6:32), which was previewed by the desert manna, that He offered living water (John 7:37), which was previewed by water from the rock, and now “I am” the light “...who illumines the walk of the believer through a dark world...,” which was previewed by the “pillar of fire illumining Israel's path at night” (Howell, 211).
These claims weren't lost on the religious Pharisees who quickly tried to discredit Jesus. Thus, Jesus went on the offensive to not only defend His claims, but also to reveal the true stance of the unbelieving Pharisees. “Jesus cuts through their misguided speculation by declaring that he and they emerge from two entirely antithetical realms. He is from above...sent by his Father. They are from below...this fallen moral order in conscious rebellion against its creator” (Carson, 342).1 As the Pharisees defend themselves claiming both Abraham and God as their father, Jesus exposes their faulty logic in revealing that “descent from Abraham, in the only true sense, cannot be proved by a pedigree” (Barrett, 347).2 Instead, the fruit of their lives are far from both “the things Abraham did” (John 8:39) and loving the one who came from God (v42), but align much more with murderous desires (v40) and lies (v44) which belong to the devil. Thus, Jesus makes the audacious claim that the Pharisees who reject the fulfillment of Abraham and the sent son of God are children of the devil. Such a claim does not stop solely with the Jews (a verse the Nazis perverted for their own murderous desires), but with anyone (of any ethnicity or religious persuasion) whose fruit keeps with the devil's murderous desires and abandonment of Truth.
The Pharisee's last ditch effort to discredit Jesus as demon-possessed or delusional proved to be their undoing, as it revealed their complete lack of understanding when Christ offered eternal life to those who keep His word. For in a profound moment of disclosure, Christ reveals His role in the Trinity as the unbegotten Son, separate yet equal to the Father. Jesus revealed that He not only existed in the time of Abraham, but always existed using the divine name of God “I am” to refer to himself, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). While some scholars attempt to preclude Christ's claim as alluding to Exodus 3:14, where God revealed His divine name to Moses in the burning bush “I AM who I AM” (Barrett, 352), this explanation fails to account for the indirect allusion brought about through Isaiah 43 and related passages where the Septuagint (LXX – Greek Old Testament used in Jesus' day) uses identical language to what is found here in John. In fact, this indirect allusion provides an even stronger case for the Trinity, where Jesus is not equated to God as one and the same “without remainder” (just as Jesus always distinguishes Himself), but the suffering servant who at the same time can claim “I am he” or “I am the same” as Yahweh from Exodus 3:14 (Carson, 333-344).
Brett Yardley: Warrior for Christ. Devoted Husband. Proud Father. Martial Artist. Hopeful Philosopher & Theologian. Aspiring Teacher & Writer.