We read the words of the Lord Jesus in John 8:51, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”  This remark of the Lord angered the Jews He was speaking to and they accused Him of being demon possessed. (verse 52). They pointed out that Abraham and the prophets were dead, yet the Lord was promising eternal life.  They asked Him, “Art thou greater than our father, Abraham?” (verse 53).  In effect, they asked the Lord, “Who do you think you are?” 

We read the Lord’s reply in verses 54-56, “Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”  How offensive this must have been to the Jews.  They claimed to know God as their own God, yet the Lord Jesus told them that they did not even know God.  In one of the clearest and boldest claims of deity while on the earth, the Lord declares that their father, Abraham rejoiced to see His day.  “My day” surely refers to the manifestation of the Lord Jesus as the Messiah to Israel.  How did Abraham ‘see’ the Lord’s day?  By FAITH! 

Of Abraham and the prophets, we read in Hebrews 11:13, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but HAVING SEEN THEM AFAR OFF, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”  Abraham saw the Lord by faith, by types, figures, and promises.  He saw the Lord when the Lord to him in the plains of Mamre. (Genesis 18:1-18).  He saw Him in the promise that in his seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. We could point out several more ways the Lord appeared unto Abraham and spoke to Him…and Abraham “saw” the manifestation of the Lord Jesus as the Messiah.

Let’s continue in our portion in John 8, where we see the Jews’ reply to the Lord’s words.  In verses 57-58 we read, “Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”  We must notice that the Lord did not say that He saw Abraham’s day (although He certainly did), but He told the Jews that Abraham had seen HIS day.  They were astounded by this statement and declared that the Lord could not have seen Abraham, He was no more than 50 years old.  It has been said that their high estimate of the Lord’s earthly age was due to all the suffering and persecution He had received as the rejected Messiah.  These must have aged the Lord to look older than He was.

The Lord went on to make the most remarkable statement.  “Before Abraham was, I am.”  He did not say “Before Abraham was, I was.”  No, in His carefully guarded words, He proclaimed His deity…He proclaimed that He was God.  In that familiar portion in Genesis 3, the Lord comes to Moses to use him to set his earthly people free from captivity in Egypt.  We read in Exodus 3:13-14, “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”  “I AM THAT I AM.”  “I AM”.  This was the name the Lord used to identify Himself.  It is the same name the Lord Jesus used to identify Himself when He said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.”  The Lord Jesus made it very clear to the Jews that He indeed, was God by using the same name that God used when speaking to Moses. 

Sadly enough, after making this proclamation, the Jews sought to kill the Lord for His claim of being God. We read in John 8:59, “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”  How great was their hatred of the Lord that they despised His words, His claims, and the free gift of salvation that comes to all those who trust Him as their savior.  He had promised them in John 8:51, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”  Dear friend, that promise is yours also.  If you put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, you will never see death.  (466.4)