John 8:48-59 (ESVST)
48 The Jews answered him, “ Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
Jesus is still engaging with what I believe was a very heated debate with the Jews at the temple in Judea. Jesus in the verses above this one had just told the Jews that they are sons of the devil and murderous just like him since they wanted to kill him. The Jews replied by asking him that are they not right by saying that he is a Samaritan and has a demon. Now the Jews and Samaritans were almost one can say enemies. The Jews hated the Samaritans since they were Jews who intermarried with pagans and adopted their religion. Samaritans insulted the temple and challenged the Jewish people’s exclusive heritage in Abraham. So, they were saying that Jesus was a Samaritan because he is also saying that they are not children of Abraham but are of the devil. Secondly in John 7:20, they had already accused Jesus of having a demon and they were again saying the same thing. By this the Jews meant that Jesus was insane because he was possessed by 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.
Jesus told them that he did not have a demon or he was not insane but he is honoring the will of his Father and they dishonor him. He then told that that they dishonored him even if He do not seek his own glory but the glory of the one who send him. Jesus told them, God is the one who seeks glory not him. He told them God is the one who seeks glory 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?”
Jesus again then tells them that anyone who keeps his word, will never see death. Obviously he meant that whosoever believes in him will not die spiritually but will pass from death to eternal life. The Jews completely misunderstood him and they took it that he meant physical death. This statement according to their misunderstood version of it, convinced them that Jesus was indeed insane.
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.
Jesus once more tells them that he does not seek his own glory but the glory of God. He tells them if he did seek his own glory then his glory would be nothing. He tells them he does not glorify himself but it is the one whom they say our God who glorifies him. He tells them that he knows God and they don’t. He told them that if he were to say that he does not know God, he would be a liar like them. He tells them, since I am not a liar like you are, I will tell the truth and the truth is that, I do know God 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.
Jesus told them that this Abraham whom you claim to be your father was happy that he would see my day. He saw it and he was glad. Again out of shear ignorance, the Jews said to him that how can he have seen Abraham if he is not even fifty years old. Then Jesus made again a statement that would have got all their blood boiling and indeed it did boil. Jesus told them that before Abraham was, I am. Jesus did not say that before Abraham was, he was. Jesus said I am. I am was God’s name.
Exodus 3:14 (ESVST)
God said to Moses, “ I am who I am.” And he said, “ Say this to the people of Israel, ‘ I am has sent me to you. ’”
Jesus here does not only say that he existed before Abraham but he tells that he is the I am, meaning he is God. The Jews understood him very clearly, they had enough and they decided it was time to pick up stones and kill him.