53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Are you greater than the prophets, who died? Who do you think you are?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I am merely boasting about myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who says these glorious things about me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ 55 but you do not even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But it is true — I know him and obey him. 56 Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” 57 The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus answered, “The truth is, I existed before Abraham was even born!” 59 At that point they picked up stones to kill him. But Jesus hid himself from them and left the Temple.—John 8:53-59 (NLT)
Jesus explains to the people that they don’t really know God even tough they claim God as “our God”. If they really knew God, they would accept Jesus and be excited that the Messiah had come in their lifetimes. Jesus says that even Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to the birth of the Messiah. The people really didn’t accept this. Since Jesus is not even fifty years old, how could He possibly have seen Abraham? Then Jesus makes a statement that really gets the crowd worked up. “I existed before Abraham was even born”. The truth is more than that, Jesus existed before _______ and it doesn’t matter what you put in the blank, Jesus already existed. 1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.—John 1:1-3 (NLT)
The crowd became so angry that Jesus had to slip away or be stoned to death. The name of Jesus still causes that kind of reaction today. When the name of Jesus is spoken, there is no neutral ground and there is no procrastination. You either have to accept Him or reject Him. What choice have you made?
10 But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. 11 The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. 12 There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” 13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.–John 7:10-13 (NLT)
Jesus did the things He did and He did them the way He did because of His complete obedience to God the Father. He could have chosen to do otherwise, but then He would not have been the sinless sacrifice. 19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.—John 5:19 (NLT)
When we are faced with non-believers and those who would ridicule and persecute us, what do we say about Jesus? Is Jesus just some “good man” or is He the Savior and Lord of our life? Is he just a historical figure or was He the Messiah? Is He our “strong tower” to run into for shelter or do we live “in the shadow of His wings”? God is not in a contest with other “gods”, He is the only God! In each of our lives, we must decide if He is “Lord of all” or not “Lord at all”. There is a war going on for the control of our minds and there are only two choices, there is no neutral ground. 31 So what should we say about this? If God is for us, no one can defeat us.–Romans 8:31 (NCV)
13 Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe. 14 And then, dear brothers and sisters, you suffered persecution from your own countrymen. In this way, you imitated the believers in God’s churches in Judea who, because of their belief in Christ Jesus, suffered from their own people, the Jews. 15 For some of the Jews killed the prophets, and some even killed the Lord Jesus. Now they have persecuted us, too. They fail to please God and work against all humanity 16 as they try to keep us from preaching the Good News of salvation to the Gentiles. By doing this, they continue to pile up their sins. But the anger of God has caught up with them at last.–1 Thessolonians 2:13-17 (NLT)
We can talk about a lot of different things and different “gods” and most people may not even pay attention to what we are saying. But when we talk about the Good News, which is “the very Word of God”, we will get some sort of reaction. The Name of Jesus is not neutral and when it is spoken, it requires that a decision be made by the hearer. No response or not accepting is still a decision. If we allow the Word to continue its work in us, we will be persecuted by the worldly factions. Since the Creator was persecuted, even to death, how can we, the creation, expect not to be persecuted? If the unbelievers continue in their sinful ways, they have made the decision to work their way to hell when they could have gone to heaven as a free gift from God.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.–Romans 6:23 (NLT)