Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:57-58)
How Old Is Jesus?
The gospel writer Luke is an eminent historian of the highest quality. His story of Christ is considered a masterpiece of investigative research that was careful with the depth of attention given to details of the life of Jesus. Only in the gospel of Luke is the age of Jesus revealed when the Lord began His ministry. Luke writes that Jesus was about thirty years of age when He began a public ministry that would last for less than three years. While we are never given any concrete descriptions of what Jesus looked like, Luke offers a glimpse into the imagery of the Christ as He was seen by His fellow Jews. Near the end of his ministry, the Jews remark that Jesus was not yet fifty years old when He claimed to have known Abraham. It could be conjectured that Jesus looked much older than His age due to his rigorous work of teaching, healing, administering, and facing His ultimate death on the cross.
After the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus taught some very hard lessons about the will of the Father. The Jews were increasing their pressure upon Him and the Lord knew the time of His departure was quickly coming. His teaching offended many of the disciples and they turned and walked away from Jesus. The Jews were seeking ways to kill Jesus. His brothers did not believe Jesus was the Christ. There was confusion to whom Jesus of Nazareth was whether He was the Prophet or the Christ or another man. The Jewish leaders rejected Jesus and tried to trap Him when they brought a woman caught in adultery before Him. Failing in their attempt, they sought the more to kill Him.
The Jewish leaders continued their attack on the teaching of Jesus. They said Jesus had a demon because He appealed to Abraham as proof of His character. Was Jesus making Himself greater than Abraham? It was obvious that Abraham had been dead for many centuries and yet Jesus claims to have known the patriarch. The Lord told the Jews that Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to the coming of Christ and he saw it and was glad. This puzzled the Jews because they looked at Jesus and considered he was not yet fifty years of age so how could He have seen Abraham? Jesus explained that before Abraham was born, Jesus existed with the Father. He said that He was the I AM.
To call oneself I AM was to invoke the imagery of God. When Moses was told to go to the Hebrews in Egypt, he was told to tell them the name of the Lord was I AM WHO I AM and that I AM has sent him to lead the people. The name I AM articulates absolute, and therefore unchanging and eternal Being. Jesus claimed to be I AM saying that before Abraham was, He existed. All the Jews could see was a man in His thirties who looked like a man in His fifties claiming to be someone thousands of years old. They took up stones to throw at Jesus for claiming to have literally known Abraham. Sadly, what they could not see was the real age of Jesus. He was without number of days and years. In the body, He was in His thirties but in reality, Jesus was eternal. John would write that Jesus was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among men and they beheld the glory of the only begotten of the Father but most men could only see a man in His thirties.
Jesus must be seen for how old He really is. He is not a historical figure that lived two thousand years ago who went about doing good and performing miracles but the Son of God who looked down upon a space of nothingness void of God’s love and watched as the Father created the heavens and the earth. Jesus formed Adam from the dust of the ground because He is God. He has no age. Unbound by the fetters of time, Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. Knowing how old Jesus is will help a man see that God so loved the Lord He gave His only begotten Son for the redemption of man and that this same Jesus is coming back for the final day of reckoning. Before Abraham was, I AM.