“I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant.” (Genesis 17:7)
In John 6, Jesus told us: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.” (John 6:51). In this same light, Jesus is saying to us today: “If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51).
Jesus was not simply talking about our life on earth, He was talking about our true Life, the Life beyond, the Life that Never Ends. It is on the basis of this supernatural life that Jesus could say to the Jews: “Before Abraham was, I am.” This is was just too difficult for the Jews to understand and many still do not understand this today. The few years we live on earth is not our real life, our true life begins afterward.
Just as God revealed himself to Moses as “I Am” in Exodus 3:14, Jesus reveals his true identity as “I am.” Jesus did not say “Before Abraham was, I was” (past tense), rather he said: “Before Abraham was, I Am” meaning He always is and will be forever.
The Jews picked up stones to throw at Jesus. What an irony. How often do we pick up stones to throw at those we should listen to! How often do we undermine the truth just because it is different from what we are used to? Indeed, there are certain truths we cannot grasp unless we believe.
Even though Abraham was childless, our first reading today tells how God changed his name from Abram (which means ‘exalted father’) to Abraham (which means, father of a multitude). It was with faith that Abraham accepted this change of name and agreed to be called a Father of many nations.
Let us put ourselves in the shoes of Abraham. You have prayed for something for so many years and it has not come to pass. Would you continue to believe in God? Consider the Jews who were Jesus’ audience, a man in his thirties says to you, “I existed over a thousand years ago.” Would you believe it?
It takes the eyes of faith to come to terms with certain truths especially when the visible facts appear to contradict that truth. It takes faith to realize that God made us and that our life on earth is just the beginning of greater life to come and that even if we do not see immediate answers to our prayers, it doesn’t mean God is weak.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, bless me with the kind of faith Abraham had. Amen.
Bible Study: Gen. 17:3-9, Ps. 105:4-9, John 8:51-59).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu