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.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 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.’ 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. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John 8:52-56.
As we continue to work our way through John 8, we witness a recurring pattern in John’s account of Jesus’ dialogue with the Jewish religious leaders of His day. The more questions Jesus answers, the more questions the religious leaders pose. Their appetite for contention is never satisfied. Their aptitude for unbelief is beyond belief.
The same may be said for our discussions with unbelievers today. The more questions believers answer, the more questions the unconverted ask. They are never, ever satisfied.
The questions the Jews posed to Jesus included (1) Are you greater than our Father Abraham, and (2) who do you make yourself out to be? The obvious answers are that Jesus is greater than Abraham and He has testified that He is God in the flesh. As God, He is able to conquer death; something Abraham and the prophets were unable to accomplish.
Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus did not seek the honor which was and is due Him. He made Himself of no reputation (Philippians 2:5-11). However, as Jesus approached the culmination of His ministry He asked the Father to restore to Him the majesty which rightly belonged to Him (John 17:1-5; I Timothy 3:16). It is this glory which all will see when Jesus returns in power, might and glory (Matthew 24:30; 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
Jesus spoke personally of Abraham and declared to the Jews in attendance that the Jewish Patriarch rejoiced to see Jesus’ day. Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that, “This statement shows clearly in OT times, believers were saved through faith in Christ, who was presented to them in the shadows and types given by God to reveal His redemptive plan (Acts 4:12; Hebrews 10:1-18). Our Lord’s teaching astonished the Jews, for it meant that He viewed Himself as greater than Abraham and the prophets. After all, they died and their words could not prevent other Jews from dying (8:53). Jesus, however, is far different, and the Jews would soon learn just how different from the old covenant saints He is.
Soli deo Gloria!