Daily Devotional for September 3
September 3 John 8:47-59
"Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."
To the Jews, Abraham was the parent from whom they had
all descended. Ancestors were considered sacred, for they
represented the beginnings of the tribe. In the Hebraic culture,
to name a child after an ancestor was a high honor, laden with
significance; it was hoped that the child would emulate his
or her namesake. Some scholars have suggested that ancient
Hebrews sometimes even bore children primarily because there
was a name that they wished to pass on. Thus the Jews
perpetuated a never-ending renewal: as ancestors died, they
lived on in the children named for them. Life was a constant
ebb and flow of beginnings and endings. No one now living
was present when God first made a covenant with the Jews,
yet the chosen people survived; the covenant lived on in the
lives of those who kept it.
For Jesus to say, "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was
to see my day" was therefore quite radical, even blasphemous.
This was because Jesus was claiming to have existed even
before Abraham, which confused and upset the Jews. How
could this young man have lived before Abraham? And if Jesus
had lived before Abraham, that meant he was claiming to be
greater than Abraham, claiming to be the focal point of their
faith. In their minds, Jesus was dishonoring Abraham, a sin
worthy of stoning.
Yet Christ is the eternal one, the alpha and the omega, the
beginning and the end. Christ is the focal point of our faith.
Christ is the way to which we return again and again in our
lives, a way that works, a way that lives on today in Chris-
tians all over the world. Jesus in human form is gone from
this world, but the church, the body of Christ, lives on in us.
Make Christ the focal point of your life today. Bring Christ
closer to you and to those you meet by making Christ the
center of your being. Make the way of Christ your journey,
which begins and ends with God's love for you.
From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle
Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989