Hypocrite – someone who acts in contradiction to their stated beliefs. In other words, your actions and your words don’t match. As a follower of Christ, I certainly do not want to be observed or accused as a hypocrite. The reality is, however, that we are all hypocritical in some aspect of our life. Have you ever talked about focusing on a healthy diet just as you reach for one more donut? Ever lecture your kids on following the law while you are exceeding the speed limit on the highway?
- What areas of your life could be observed as hypocritical?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 8:54-59 (ESV)
54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55 But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Throughout this section, Jesus is making claims about his identity and character:
- What claim does Jesus appear to be making in verse 54 in regard to his identity or character?
- In verse 55, Jesus makes a claim about his relationship with the father. What is his claim?
- What claim is Jesus making in verse 56 in regard to his character?
- The last claim in this section is in verse 58. Are you aware of this same reference anywhere else in scripture? How might you define the phrase “I am”?
- How might verse 58 support all the other claims?
RESPOND TO GOD
In this section, each claim Jesus makes about his identity and character is a bit more astonishing than the last. He claims that he is not just saying these things about himself, but that God the Father is actually the one who makes and supports the claims. He claims an intimacy with God, in contrast to the Pharisees. He claims to have been alive when Abraham was alive. The culmination is in verse 58 “before Abraham was, I am.” Here Jesus clearly and emphatically makes the claim to be God, forcing the Pharisees to decide for themselves. Is he who he is claiming to be, or not?
- Jesus is not passive in his claims. They require a response from each of us. We can agree and worship him, or disagree, effectively calling him a liar. What is your response? Pray that God would continue to illuminate his character to us as we live in relationship with him.