With a contemptuous curl of the lip instantly they come back with: “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” More quietly than ever, with the calmness of conscious truth, come those tremendous words, emphasized with the strongest phrase He ever used, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was born, I am.” The common version omits “born,” and so the sharp contrast is not made clear. Abraham was born. He came into existence. Jesus says “I am.” That “I am” is meant to mean absolute existence. An eternal now without beginning or ending. Their Jewish ears are instantly caught by that short sentence. Jesus was identifying Himself with the One who uttered that sentence out of the burning bush! Again stones for speech. Again the invisible power holds their feverish impotent hands. That “I am” explains the meaning of the expression “my day.” It stretches it out backward beyond Abraham’s day. It lengthens it infinitely at both ends.
This is Jesus’ point of view, this marvellous Jesus. He is the Jehovah in Genesis’ first chapters. It is with Him that Adam broke tryst that day, and with Him that Enoch renewed the tryst after such a long wait, and took those long walks. It is His voice and presence in the black topped, flaming mount that awed the Israel crowd so. His voice it was that won and impressed so winsomely the man waiting in the hand-covered cleft of the rock that early morning, and long after, that other rugged, footsore man, standing with face covered in the mouth of a cave. Isaiah saw His glory that memorable day in the temple. It was He who rode upon the storm before Ezekiel’s wondering eyes and who walks with His faithful ones on the seven times heated coals, and reveals to Daniel’s opened ears the vision of his people’s future. Jehovah—He comes as Jesus. Jesus—He is Jehovah. No sending of messengers for this great work of winning His darling back to the original image and mastery and dominion will do for our God. He comes Himself. Jesus is God coming down to woo man up to Himself again.
The Winsome Jesus
The Face of Jesus
Jesus was God letting man see the beauty of His face and listen to the music of His voice, and feel the irresistibly gentle drawing power of His presence. Jesus was very winsome. He drew men. He said that if He were lifted up He would draw men. They who heard that could believe it, for He drew them before He was lifted up. He drew the crowds. Yet many a leader that has drawn the crowds has led them astray. He drew men—men of strongest mentality, scholarly, cultured, thoughtful men, and every other sort. Yet men have often been befooled in their leaders. He drew women. Here is a great test. Men may be deceived in a man. But woman, true strong woman, pure womanly woman, because of her keen discernment into spirit and motive, cannot be deceived, when true to her inner conviction.