23rd July 2019

The Seven I AMs in John – Why?

“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.’”
Exodus 3:14 (NKJV)

God, who came to earth and was born into human flesh, needed to make His divinity clear. So Jesus’ “I AM “ statements would have special significance to the first century Jewish listener: God had revealed Himself to Moses with His statement, “I AM.”

Reviewing the seven ‘I AMs’ of Jesus in John:
“I AM the bread of life” (John 6:35, 41, 48 & 51);
“I AM the light of the world” (John 8:12);.
“I AM the door” (John 10:7 & 9);
“I AM the good shepherd.” (John 10:11 & 14);
“I AM the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25);
“I AM the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6);
“I AM the true vine” (John 15:1 & 5)
Jesus in saying these was establishing His divinity in words they would understand because it is a direct reference to Exodus 3.14.

We know that these statements were not clear to the disciples, because they were shocked by Jesus’ resurrection. But they would have made the priests and pharisees even angrier with Jesus—because they understood He was linking himself directly with God. We may think the miracles Jesus did were enough to confirm his identity, but Luke 7:11-31 shows that even raising someone from the dead, which Jesus did, would not have been enough to confirm that He was God in the flesh.

It is much easier for us today to understand that Jesus was fully divine and fully human because we have the entire New Testament. But in that day and at that time, the concept of a loving God coming to earth in human form was beyond their comprehension. So these seven I AM statements were there to clarify the true identity of this man they thought of as just the carpenter’s son.

If we think it strange that they did not understand then, despite the miracles and these statements, just look at our society today. Do the majority of people here in the UK believe Jesus was God in the flesh? It would seem that most do not, so we are no wiser than those living in the first century. It is not wrong to doubt, but if we do, we have these seven powerful I AM statements to remind us of who we worship and who we serve.

Father, how awesome is the truth that Jesus came to earth to experience our humanity and die to pay for our sins. Let us never doubt that Jesus is our fully divine and fully human Lord and Saviour. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Keith Hartrick

About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: malcolm701@googlemail.com

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