Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

22 May 2016

Trinity Sunday Sermon: Divine Grammar

Preached on John 8:48-59
The First Sunday after Pentecost (Series C)
22 May AD 2016

Title: Divine Grammar (MP3 Audio)

John 8:58 Summary: “Before Abraham was, I am.” It doesn’t take much schooling for most people to recognize that Jesus seemed to mix up the verb tenses. Looking back hundreds of years into the past, He spoke of Himself in the present.

Yet is wasn’t a grammar error that led His Jewish antagonists to grab rocks “to throw at him.” No, they understood what Jesus was truly saying. He wasn’t merely trying to say that He’d been around longer than Abraham. Instead, He as continued speaking about His relationship to the Father, He was telling them that He thought that He was God.

When Jesus said, “I am,” He wasn’t only stating the fact of His existence. He was claiming to be the One who called to Moses from the burning bush: “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, “I am has sent me to you.”’ (Exodus 3:14)”

Jesus therefore identified Himself as “the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob” (see Exodus 3:16). He was — He is — the Holy One of Israel who brought His people out of bondage in Egypt and led them to the Promised land. He is the God and Lord of King David (see Acts 2:25-31).” He is “the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)” (Visit Preaching Symbols for information on the related symbolism in this accompanying picture of Christ.)

He is also your great I am, your God and Lord, your Rescuer and Redeemer. He is the source of your life and your only hope of life everlasting. He wants you to know this and believe it and through faith be saved from sin, death, and Devil.

Exodus 3:14 Text: The Jews answered [Jesus], “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”

The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?”

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”

So 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.”

So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. John 8:48-59

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Divine Grammar.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 8; Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Acts 2:14a, 22-36

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