I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.
Here the Teacher makes an astounding promise. It certainly confused his enemies - Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?
They accused Jesus of being demon-possessed to make such an obviously outrageous claim. But Jesus didn’t say faith in Him would prevent the natural process of physical death.
The key to understanding what Jesus meant is in the condition He gives – if anyone keeps my word…
Jesus is claiming the power to give everlasting life when this life is over. For those who follow Jesus, death is not the end. Even physical death is but a door that opens to a never ending new life.
Jesus is actually claiming to be the source of all life. To have the power to give eternal life! To make such a promise is to make the claim to be God Himself!
“I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!”
I AM is the name God gave to Moses at the burning bush when He sent him to Pharaoh to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. When Moses inquired of God, whom shall I say sent me? God said…tell the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.
When Jesus says, I AM, He is claiming to be God. I AM – the One who has life in Himself.
Jesus’ power over death is not impossible if He is God. For He would then be the One who created life in the first place! He could as easily then re-create life out of death.
Life in place of death! A promise well worth keeping the words of this Teacher! Because becoming a student of Jesus is the difference between life and death.