This appears to be inflammatory, unloving, narrow, and intolerant to name a few objections. Still, this statement is either right or wrong, true or false, pass or fail. There is no middle ground of compromise or negotiation. Let’s look at a verbal exchange that occurred with Jesus in John Chapter 8. To set the historical stage, Jesus again is in the Jewish temple of Herod teaching “all the people” from the nation of Israel who were in captivity to the Roman Empire. This scenario is very similar to the OT prophets whom God sent to the nation of Israel because they were in captivity for their disobedience and unbelief. Here is how it unfolds when some of the leaders of the Jewish people started a Q&A session with Jesus when Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life [Jhn 8:12 NASB]."
This prompted the leaders to tell Jesus He is not who He says He is. After some more verbal exchange, there was a group who appeared to believe that Jesus was who He said He was. Here is Jesus’ response to them, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” [Jhn 8:31-32 NASB]. Did these people respond “great, that is good news, tell us more truth”? No, this prompted a verbal exchange of “disagreeing” what Jesus said because they are of Abraham’s seed. They played the Jewish blood line heritage card. Here is Jesus’ response. "I know that you are Abraham's descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. "I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father" [Jhn 8:37-38 NASB].
Harsh, unfriendly words. The crowd then responded that Abraham is their father and so is God. Maybe they thought Jesus was confused about who He was talking to so they added further clarification by pointing out that they are God’s chosen people and they will be the inheritors of all of God’s promises. Here is Jesus’s response to their claim of being God’s chosen people. "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father. If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God" [Jhn 8:39-47 NASB].
Jesus not only said He is right, He told the crowd why they are wrong. Jesus proclaimed to these Jewish leaders and the supposed crowd of believers they are of the devil and not of God. Why? Because Jesus tells them the truth and they do not believe Him. The deeds of Abraham Jesus told them to do is exactly this; “Believe what God says and it will be counted to you as righteousness”. Jesus told them, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” [Jhn 8:56 NASB]. The crowd said how could this be since you are not even 50 yrs old. And Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am" [Jhn 8:58 NASB].
What was the response to being told the truth in verse 59? They picked up stones to stone Him (i.e. kill Him). Why? Because Jesus just proclaimed to them He was God (i.e. Exod 3:1-14). The God of the promise(s) to Abraham, the God of Moses, the God of the Exodus, and the God of the OT prophets. The One who is telling them the truth that they might believe Him and that their belief might be counted as righteousness is God in flesh, full of grace and truth. Instead of falling in worship, they proved they were liars and murders, exactly what Jesus said. John 8 is one claim of many where Jesus says He is right and everybody else is wrong. John 14:6 is one of the clearest and most concise claims; "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me”. Jesus is not one of many ways, truths, and lives; He is the only way that the world and nations of individuals are to come to the Father, who art in the kingdom of Heaven.
To God be the glory,