Jesus said, “I am”
Seven times in the gospel of John, Jesus makes a statement about himself prefaced with the words “I am”. He says:
- I am the bread of life” (Jn. 6)
- I am the light of the world (Jn 8)
- I am the gate (Jn 10)
- I am the good shepherd (Jn 10)
- I am the resurrection and the life (Jn 11)
- I am the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14)
- I am the true vine (Jn 15)
These statements are important, and helpful to study, because they each reveal something essential about the identity of Christ and the mission he came to fulfill.
The wording of these phrases takes on even more significance when we consider the pivotal moment of divine self-revelation recorded in Exodus 3. When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, he revealed himself by the name Yahweh which sounds like the Hebrew phrase “I AM”. When Moses asked God what he should say to the Israelites when they inquired about who had sent him, “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Ex. 3:14)
To the biblically trained ear, the repeated sound of the phrase “I am” coming from Jesus’ lips reinforces the emphasis in John’s gospel on the divinity of Christ. (See John 1:1-3; 5:18; 8:58; 10:30; 14:9; 20:28.) Each “I am” statement of Jesus points to him as the great “I AM” who appeared to Moses.
This pattern of speech culminates in John 18, when the soldiers come to arrest Jesus. When they indicate that they are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus replies “I am he”, or literally in the Greek, “I am.” The impact of these words from his mouth caused the soldiers to draw back and fall to the ground (Jn. 18:6), demonstrating the power of divine truth behind his words.
In our Sunday morning worship services, beginning October 14, we will be looking at each of the seven “I am” sayings in John. Studying these passages will allow us to dig deeply into the identity of Christ. We expect this to be beneficial both to the seasoned believer and to those just beginning to seek the Lord.
Come worship with us, as we hear Jesus say, “I am.”