Before Abraham was I am...

The Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?" Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"

John 8:52-59 (ANIV)

"Who do you think you are?" is not only the title of an emotionally manipulative celebrity documentary on the BBC, it is also a key question in this day and age. As we saw yesterday, Jesus had a very strong sense of who he was... or rather is... But given his answer to the Jewish leaders he is debating with in today's readings, it seems he not only had an "ego problem", he also had a problem with grammar... not getting his tenses correct.

"Before Abraham was, I am..."

It is grammatically illogical. But then the whole of what Jesus was claiming... that he was THE Great I AM who made himself known to Abraham and later to Moses... is illogical...

Human theology is in some ways the fallible attempt to make the seeming illogicality of God fit the workings of a human, finite time-bound mind.


“I am…” Says Jesus…

“Before Abraham was I am…”

Eternally the same…

Eternally present…

Yesterday, today, forever I am…

I never was… I am.

I will not be… I am.

I am the God of Abraham and Isaac,

Of Moses and Joshua,

Of Naomi and Ruth,

Of David and Solomon,

Of your grandparents and parents,

But don’t try to imprison me in the past

In far off tales of long ago

When things were different

Or when you were different. Because even then

I am.

Eternally constant

I am...

I hold past, present and future in the palm of my hand

I know the end from the beginning

But don’t put me off to the future

For the future is guaranteed to none

Eternity is always now

In me

I am

Be present to my presence

Be still and know that I am…


I am…


Ever-present God

Hear our prayer and make your presence known in power and grace…

Hear us as we pray for those who are imprisoned by the past –

By decisions long since taken...

Those overshadowed by sorrow, shame, regret...

Those scarred by the past of this province…

Those constantly seeking to relive past glories, real or imagined.

Those who expect the church to be more a religious museum than a spiritual movement

Ever-present God

Hear our prayer and make your presence known in power and grace…

Those who fear the future due to uncertainty about their health, or relationships, employment or investments.

Those who are fearful of any change

Those who put off decisions to some indeterminate day in the future when things will be clearer

Those who defer their hopes and dreams for a better day

Those who live for the future and miss the blessings that this day offers

Ever present God

Hear our prayer and make your presence known in power and grace…

Help us to live in the present –

This is the day that you have made…

Let us rejoice and be glad in it

Give us this day our daily bread

Grant us grace for this day

And an awareness of your presence always.




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