The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In John 8:48-59 Jesus’ discussion with his opponents continues. They, confident in their status as the descendants of Abraham, think that Jesus is some sort of rabble rouser. They suggest that he is a “Samaritan” and that he “has a demon.” Jesus says they are dishonoring him. If they would honor his word they would have eternal life.
The opponents counter, saying that we are temporary. Abraham, Moses, and the prophets all lived and died. What is this eternal life Jesus is talking about? On one level this could be an honest question. Yet it is asked in such a way that one would naturally assume the premise to be ridiculous. Nobody can know of eternal life because we are all clearly bound by time.
Jesus, in answering this, says that Abraham was glad that he, Jesus, was coming. Jesus then claims superiority over Abraham. He also may be understood to say that he was present before Abraham. In any case, his opponents will have no more of it. They try to stone him, but are unsuccessful.
Are the claims of Christ really that radical? In fact, they are. Jesus claims superiority over all the prophets. He claims to be co-eternal with the Father. He claims all the authority and power of the true and living God. He claims to be the only one who can take away sin and evil, by taking the place of sinners in death. These are astonishing claims. And they are claims which seem to be borne out in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Here is the radical hope of the Gospel. Jesus, who died, now lives. Thanks be to God.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.