Who Are You? (Part 2)
In the eighth chapter of the book of John, the Pharisees asked Jesus an interesting question. In the first part of the verse we have recorded for us the Pharisees’ question, and the second half Jesus’ response.
Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”
And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. (NKJV)
The question that immediately comes to mind when I read this verse is, from the beginning? What did Jesus mean? The beginning of what? I don’t find contextual evidence that Jesus is veiling meaning here. I believe He simply means, I’ve been telling you all along who I am.
So I backed up looking for what Jesus had been telling the Pharisees and the people about Himself. Remember that this particular encounter is occurring in the temple in Jerusalem. If we look at each conversation that Jesus had with Pharisees in the temple, we can safely deduce that this would be the same group of religious leaders. Keep in mind that news of Jesus’ claims would have reached the surrounding communities as well.
Previous to this temple encounter we find Jesus in Jerusalem in chapter 5. What did Jesus say about Himself in this chapter? Jesus heals a man at the pool of Bethesda and tells him to take up his bed and walk. The problem (not for God, but the Pharisees) is that Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath. Verse 16 tells us that because of this, the Jews persecuted Jesus and looked for opportunity to kill Him! Can you imagine? Instead of rejoicing with the healed man and praising God for the miracle, they persecuted Jesus and sought to kill him? How remarkable that their own selfish ambitions could have so powerfully distorted their view of Jesus.
The Pharisees saw Jesus as a law (Sabbath) breaker and worthy of death. But Jesus declares Himself to be the Son of God, which of course means He is God.
In John 6:41 Jesus says He is the bread which came down from Heaven. He is declaring to them that He is the very source of life that sustained their ancestors during the exodus.
Look at John 6:43-44,
Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (NKJV)
“I will raise him up at the last day….”, remarkable! Jesus is claiming to have the power of God, that He is God, that He will resurrect the dead!
There is so much more we could examine. The evidence Jesus presented is overwhelming. He was undoubtedly the most famous person of His day. I’m sure the Pharisees all over the region, not just in Jerusalem, were abuzz with talk of Jesus. What He didn’t say directly to them, was broadcast from town to town.
The question of who Jesus is, is quite frankly the most important question ever asked throughout all time. The answer has eternal consequences for every individual who has ever been born – past, present and future.
By the time they asked the question in John 8:25, the Pharisees knew full well who Jesus claimed to be, they just chose to ignore the answer. They watched Him heal time and time again. They asked, “who are you?”, but they failed to ask the critical second question. They should have asked, “who are you to me?” Who is Jesus to you? Is He your “bread of Heaven” that will raise you up on the last day? Or is He just a Historical figure lost somewhere in the pages of an ancient book?