Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jesus' enemies have not found a way to refute his explanation of messianic prophecy, nor have they been able to find any sin in his life. They assumed that Jesus was a mere man and surely of less importance than Abraham and the prophets. They called him a Samaritan, a supporter of the people who had retained only a part of the truth, whose members were considered heretics by the Jews and therefore believed to be possessed by evil spirits. That is the manner and style of unbelievers of all times; when they discover that they have no arguments against the truth, they resort to slander and blasphemy.
"Truly, truly, I tell you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death. Then the Jews said to him: Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets; and you say: He who keeps my word will never prove death. Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you make yourself? "
They felt that he was arrogantly empowering himself that was completely out of his reach. If those men had died, surely he could not speak of granting security and deliverance from death. Jesus certainly placed himself on a much higher level than the prophets. But Jesus insists that he has his honor from his Father. If he were guilty of exalting himself at the expense of the truth, his glory would immediately suffer and fade. But in this case, God himself was giving evidence everywhere that he was behind his Son, in his preaching and in his miracles.
"Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad. Then the Jews said to him: You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Truly, truly, I say to you: Before Abraham was, I am. "
And now Jesus offers a little proof of the fact that He is greater than Abraham. For this patriarch, who was his forefather according to the flesh, was filled with exultant joy at the fact that he would see the day of Christ. God promised Abraham that in his seed all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12: 3). This verse states that the Savior of the world promised to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15 will be a descendant of Abraham.
Abraham understood the fulfillment of the assurance of God's promise after what happened in our Old Testament reading (Genesis 22: 1-14) when he tested Abraham by God. It was not God's will for Abraham to fall into the idolatry of the Canaanites who sacrificed their children to false gods. Rather, the goal was to deepen Abraham's understanding of what God had given him. God asked him to return the son of his promise, "your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love."
No mention is made of Abraham's personal reaction to this command from God. However, in verse 5, there is this statement of faith: "Then Abraham said to his servants: Wait here with the donkey, and I and the boy will go there, and we will worship, and we will return to you." The author of Hebrews offers us this interpretation in chapter 11: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered Isaac, and he who had received the promises, offered his only begotten son, having been told: In Isaac you will be called seed ; thinking that even from the dead God is powerful to raise; from where he also received him again as a figure. "
Then Abraham answered Isaac's question this way: "God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." He showed his complete confidence that God would show him what he should do. Finally, the Angel of the Lord stopped Abraham's hand and showed him a ram to offer as a sacrifice. By these words we know this angel or messenger, it is God himself: "I already know that you fear God, because you did not refuse me your son, your only one."
We understand this divine entity as the second person of the holy Trinity before the Incarnation. This illuminates the unusually strong claim, that before Abraham came into being, He was, He is, thus affirming his divinity. "Thus shall you say to the children of Israel: I AM has sent me to you," was God's response to Moses when he sent him to free the people of Israel from slavery.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the true God. Jesus is expressly and unequivocally called God. As the Son of God, Jesus is our “High Priest of the goods to come, through the largest and most perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation”, as our epistle says (Hebrews 9: 11-15). As the Son of Abraham, Jesus is also the perfect sacrifice for the blessing of all families on earth.
“For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkled on the unclean, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself himself without blemish to God, will he cleanse your consciences from dead works so that you may serve the living God? "
May the peace that passes all understanding be with you. Amen.
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