You probably know lots of Jesus’ ‘I am’ statements without even realising it. “I am the way, the truth and the life” for example. Or, “I am the good shepherd.”
These identity declarations give us a great insight into the person and character of Jesus. They also reveal part of the purpose of his coming as a man to live and die on this earth.
What are Jesus’ “I am” statements?
If you read through the gospel of John you find a series of ‘I am’ statements from Jesus.
The statements all range but each one highlights a certain truth about Jesus Christ.
They illustrate His divinity as well as describing His one-of-a-kind connection with God the Father. In total there are seven ‘I Am’ declarations found in John and each one provides an insight into Jesus.
Recognizing the Importance of Jesus’ I Am Statements
Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant when he said, “I Am,”? This phrase may appear insignificant, but it’s enormously important. In reality, Jesus’ “I Am” pronouncements are among the most striking declarations he ever made.
The “I Am” statements are found in John’s Gospel and are so incredible as they are some of Jesus’ most outright declarations of his divinity. In these moments, Jesus begins with the phrase “I Am” and then goes on to illustrate part of His character, identity or purpose. In John 6:35, for example, Jesus declares, “I am the food of life; whoever comes to me will not hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
There are a total of seven “I Am” utterances. You could study each one on its own and still find so much to make you fall in love with Jesus all over again.
Here’s a summary of each of Jesus’ powerful ‘I Am’ statements:
I am the bread of life.
..the light of the world.
I am the door of the sheep.
..the good shepherd.
I am the resurrection and the life.
..the way, the truth, and the life.
I am the true vine.
Each of these seven statements introduces a part of who Jesus is and who He is to us. There are statements like ‘I am the bread of life’ that reveal the eternal life in Jesus and call us to shift our focus to him. Seeing Jesus as the bread of life helps us to truly rely on him, not worrying about our provision or possessions but simply trusting in God.
And, when Jesus said ‘I am the good shepherd’ we know that means He is the absolute best person in the world to take care of us. With Jesus is the safest place to be.
How many times did Jesus say, “I am”?
Jesus makes seven “I Am” statements in the Gospel of John, each revealing a different facet of His divine character and connection with God the Father. These remarks are profound assertions of Jesus’ identity and purpose, and Christians have studied them for centuries.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus delivers the first “I Am” statement: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Here Jesus is revealing that He is our source of spiritual nourishment and sustenance. He is inviting us to live a life that is wholly dependant on His provision.
What is the significance of each “I am” statement?
Each of Jesus “I Am” statements contain vast significance. They can all be studied, their words unpacked and revelation and riches gleaned from understanding the cultural, and spiritual, significant of each statement.
For example, referring to himself as a shepherd would have had a world of associations for those hearing it for the first time. Not only was it a humbling comparison, it gave away real specifics as to Jesus’ nature that would escape many of us today. Shepherds would watch over their sheep day and night. Not only were they responsible for caring for their sheep, helping them birth lambs and find food every day. Shepherds would keep their sheep safe, fighting off predators. Sheep are a shepherd’s whole life, his income, his family’s provision and his future.
It’s this level of dedication, care and ferocity of protection that we can expect from Jesus. And, we learn all this just from him simply saying “I am the good shepherd.”
When Jesus said “I am the truth, the way and the life” it may sound short and simple but He’s actually saying something incredible. In that one, short, statement He is proclaiming that He is the only way to eternal life, that He is the sole route to God, the creator of the universe.
What Are The Theological Implications Of The ‘I am’ Statements?
Have you ever considered the theological importance of Jesus’ “I Am” statements?
Every one of these statements has vast theological resonance. When Jesus says ‘I Am’ he is indirectly referencing the Old Testament and in doing so He reveals His divine nature. Remember when God revealed Himself to Moses by saying ‘I am who I am’? Every time Jesus started a sentence by saying ‘I Am’ he was, in part, connecting Himself to God through those two simple words.
These “I Am” statements do so much more than describe Jesus’ character. They underline the truth of Jesus’ divinity. In doing so they clarify how Jesus fulfils a host of prophecies spoken by prophets in the Old Testament. And, they emphasize God’s redemptive plan for humanity, that’s been in place right from the beginning.
How Do Jesus’ ‘I Am’ Words Illustrate His Divinity?
These remarks may appear simple at first look, but they each have a profound meaning that demonstrates Jesus’ divinity.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus delivers the first “I am” statement: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Here Jesus is explaining that He is our source of sustenance. He means this both day-to-day, He is to be our go-to for spiritual nourishment. But, He also means that in Him is the power to give us eternal life.
“I am the light of the world,” is another “I am” phrase that indicates Jesus’ divinity (John 8:12). Jesus is reminding us that it’s Him who can lead us out of the shadows and into the light of truth. Not only can Jesus lead us out of suffering and pain in this life, by following Him we also find our way to salvation. This is a compelling reminder that the only road to eternal life is through Jesus. He is the only path to the Father, and we cannot be saved apart from Him.
The ‘I Am’ Statements Of Jesus – How Do They Impact Me Today?
Reading the ‘I Am’ statements, first spoken thousands of years ago, can have a radical impact on us today.
So much has changed, shepherding is no longer a common career choice and even bread doesn’t have quite the same staple place in our diets anymore. But, crucially, Jesus and the truth of who He is hasn’t changed.
Jesus is your protector and guide, in all areas of life. It’s through Him that we can eagerly await an eternal life free from pain, too.
Society, culture and so much has changed. But Jesus remains the same. He gave His life, to make it possible for us to be His family again.
Which “I Am” Does God Want To Highlight To You?
Trying going through them one by one and as you do, ask God to highlight their meaning and poignancy for you, in your current season of life.
Is there one of Jesus‘ “I Ams” that you need to connect with right now? Some courage or comfort to be found in His identity as our provider or protector?
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