Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
We often think of Jesus as the Son of God but often think of that as something that began when Jesus was born in a manger. It is hard to conceive of what it means for the Son of God to have already existed before Jesus. How can that be, if Jesus was born at a specific date and time?
But scripture is clear that the Son of God was here long before Abraham. This claim by Jesus puzzled and even angered those who heard it. He was an itinerant preacher in his late twenties when he said it. What kind of delusions prompted him to claim to have been here nearly two thousand years earlier, when Abraham and Sarah traveled to Israel and began the nation?
Jesus is claiming that he and the one who said “I am who I am,” to Moses from the burning bush are one and the same. Jesus is claiming that he is the embodiment of the divine. This claim makes people, especially religious leaders, furious with him.
To be clear, if God is eternal and if God is in Christ, then the God who is in Christ could not have simply started with the birth of Jesus. The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, had to be fully present before the first moments of creation. While Jesus’ life has a specific beginning at his birth, the Son of God came down to be present in him and has always been, even before time began.
So when you take time to reflect on Jesus, give thanks for the amazing truth that stands at the center Jesus. God is in Christ.