What does John 8:56 mean?
ESV: Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.”
NIV: Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.'
NASB: Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day, and he saw it and rejoiced.'
CSB: Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad."
NLT: Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.'
KJV: Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
NKJV: Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
Verse Commentary:
Once again, Abraham is invoked in this debate. The critics attacking Jesus placed enormous importance on their descent from Abraham (John 8:33). Jesus has pointed out that spiritual matters, not genealogy, make a person a "true son" of Abraham. By that measure, those who lie and kill are acting like their true spiritual father, the devil (John 8:44). Continuing this idea, Jesus has directly called His critics liars. They do not know God (John 8:47), and do not want to know God (John 8:43), which is why they reject the One sent by God.

In saying this, Jesus has implied that those who accept His words will not "taste death" (John 8:51). His critics misunderstand this as a reference to physical death. Jesus, however, is referring to salvation. Here, He clarifies by saying that Abraham's faith looked forward to the Promised One—and Jesus is that One. Therefore, when Jesus claims to bring a message which frees men from death, that message includes those who came before Him, such as Abraham.

In making this statement, Jesus implies that He witnessed Abraham's life in a direct, personal way. This, as shown in the next verse, results in another dismissal by His critics.
Verse Context:
John 8:31–59 is a passage which dovetails with John 2:13–22, where Jesus drives corrupt businessmen from the temple. These Scriptures disprove any myths that Jesus was weak, timid, passive, or soft. In this exchange with the Pharisees, Jesus pulls no punches. Jerusalem's religious leaders, and their followers, continue to resist Jesus' preaching. They rely on arrogance and insults, to which Jesus responds with blunt, unfiltered condemnation. This culminates in Jesus making an overt statement of His own divinity, punctuating the debate by declaring ''before Abraham was, I am!''
Chapter Summary:
John chapter 8 includes the story of the adulterous woman, a well-known but controversial passage. Most scholars believe this story is authentic, but not originally found in this exact spot in Scripture. This chapter continues Jesus' preaching during the Feast of Booths, where He once again comes into conflict with local religious leaders. Here, Christ will make His second ''I AM'' statement, using the analogy of light, which is a common theme in Hebrew theology. This conversation will become more and more heated. Eventually, Jesus' opponents are enraged enough to attempt killing Him right then and there.
Chapter Context:
Jesus is attending the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem, and has once again come into conflict with the local religious authorities. In the previous chapter, Jesus referred to Himself as a source of living water, playing off of the festivals' ritual pouring of water in the temple. In this chapter, Jesus will use the imagery of lights, also related to festival traditions. This chapter demonstrates Jesus' willingness to be direct, even aggressive, with His critics. The next few chapters will complete Jesus' public ministry, as He prepares for His impending death.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
Accessed 5/21/2024 1:16:51 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.