Friday of Trinity – John 8:48-59

48 The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 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.

“Why did I ever sign up for this class – I cannot do this!” The young woman was in tears in my office. She had signed up to study Hebrew with me at Concordia University. If you have never studied Hebrew, it is a strange and ancient language, marvelously expressive and, sometimes, very arbitrary in its application of any grammatical rules. My student was doing very well, but we had just covered some difficult material. I was not surprised that she was struggling a little bit. So, we backed up that day and read some simple things that she already knew. I put my hand on her shoulder and reminded her that just a couple of months before, she could not even read a single word of this language. She had come a long way already.

I think John is doing that for us in this reading today. It falls just before the half-way mark in his Gospel, and John is about to tell us some very important things. But before he does, he has the enemies of Jesus come in and just get Him terribly wrong. “You are a Samaritan and have a demon.” Even the simplest of Christians can refute that error. They know more than these men who question Jesus this day. He is not a Samaritan and does not have a demon.  

“See!” says John, “You really are a theologian! You already know a great deal about Jesus. More than these guys did.” He wants to remind us of just how much we really do know. We need to be reassured of that because John is about to bend our minds backwards as Jesus tells us that he knew Abraham, who had been dead for 2000 years at that point. The people of Jesus’ day could not get their heads around that idea, but you can. You know that Jesus is the Word of God, the Word by which the whole world came into being (John 1:1-3). Of course, He was around when Abraham was walking this earth.

It is a good day to thank God that you have been given to know much about Him. He has revealed His nature to us, and we are stronger and better for it.

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