What phrase of Jesus is the most striking?
There are three I would like to make mention of and integrate them for impact.
The first phrase that comes to my mind is in John 8:58. In this context, Jesus is explaining that Abraham longed to see Jesus’ day and was glad to see it. The Jews mocked Him, saying that could not be since Jesus was not even fifty years old and could not have lived in Abraham’s day. Jesus then responds, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58, NKJV). Some miss the significance of this statement. It is reminiscent of what God answered Moses when asked what name he should give for the God who sent him to deliver Israel. God responded, “’I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14, NKJV). The name “I AM” speaks to God’s eternal divinity in all His glorious attributes. When Jesus made this statement, He was claiming to be of the same nature, thus have the same authority as God Himself. The Jews, failing to recognize Jesus’ divinity, picked up stones to stone Him for blasphemy (John 8:59). This was a very striking statement to them and to many today who see Jesus as less than the Son of God.
The second striking phrase by Jesus is “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32, NKJV). Notice that the definite article “the” is utilized which indicates there that truth exists and is exclusive. Not only does “the truth” exist, it is also liberating from bondage. Some fail to realize that they are enslaved to sin.
The third striking phrase by Jesus is “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6, NKJV). Here is probably the most striking phrase of our day. One cannot claim Jesus and maintain beliefs in other world religions outside of Christianity. Of course they can “claim” such, but claiming such and obtaining such are two different matters entirely.
When you combine these three phrases, it delivers a coup de grâce to universalism, pluralism, ecumenicalism, post modernism, and a whole host of other –isms. Contrary to popular philosophy…
- the truth exists
- the truth is exclusive
- the truth is definable
- the truth is discernable
- the truth will set us free IF we know the truth
- the truth will cause us to be lost IF we refuse to know
Jesus is the only way to the Father, Jesus’ word is the only truth and outside of His word is spiritual death. These three statements probably would rank at the top of the list as offensive to today’s world.