It seems that every time that Jesus spoke with the religious leaders of the Jews, He antagonized them. The reason is that He spoke words of authority and truth which ran contrary to the rules of the bureaucratic Jewish religious system. The leaders of the Jews could not accept these truths because they felt that Jesus challenged their authority and power. He was someone to be eliminated. Rightly did Jesus call them children of the devil for though they claimed to know God and to be His followers, they did not walk in obedience to Him. Thus the same words He spoke that angered them fill us with peace, hope and comfort.
The most wonderful thing He said which the Jews felt was blasphemous was “Before Abraham was, I am.” The Jews got really angry because they knew He was equating Himself with God, saying that He was Yahweh. If they had been wise and humble this would not have angered them as much as cause them to wonder. This man who performed all these mighty signs, wonders and miracles and who spoke the words of God was obviously a righteous servant of the Lord, possibly a great prophet. For such a one to utter blasphemy would be out of character. Then it would have dawned on them that He had to be who He said He was.
Many today still refuse to accept this truth. Jesus to them is just another righteous man on a par with Moses, Buddha, Mohammed and L. Ron Hubbard. But Jesus does not give us this option for He is infinitely superior to all men: He is God incarnate and faith in Him is the only true faith there is. This aggravates a lot of people. They know that if they were to admit that Jesus is God they would have to change their lives, to repent of their sins. In addition such a belief is the ultimate in intolerance for it says there is only one God and only one way to God.