If there’s one thing people generally tend to agree on about Jesus, it’s that He is likable. Between His teachings on doing to others what we’d want them to do to us, His warnings about hypocrisy, and parables like the Good Samaritan—many find Jesus to be appealing in some way.
But beyond this general consensus, there’s a lot of disagreement about Jesus. Is He God, or just a wise human teacher? Did He really rise from the dead? Is following Him the only way to God or one of many ways? In short, who exactly is Jesus?
When asking questions like this about someone, it’s always good to hear their own testimony about themselves. And when it comes to Jesus, His “I Am” statements in the Gospel of John are particularly helpful for us when seeking to understand who He is.
What are the I AM statements?
Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus utters several “I Am” statements, and each helps us to understand who He is and what He came to do:
- “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35)
- “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)
- “I am the gate for the sheep.” (John 10:7)
- “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)
What is the significance of these statements? What do they teach us about Jesus?
How the I AM statements show us who Jesus IS
To fully appreciate Jesus’s “I Am” statements, we first need to consider Exodus 3. In this chapter, God tasks Moses with going to Egypt and demanding that Pharaoh release the Israelites from slavery. Moses asks God what he should tell the Israelites when they ask the name of the God who sent him, and God replies: “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14).
That “I Am” refers to God is exactly what is so shocking when Jesus utters the words, “before Abraham was, I am” in John 8:58. He is claiming to be more than just a mere man. He is equating Himself with the God who appeared to Moses.
And the other “I Am” statements communicate important truths about Jesus as well. As the “bread of life,” He gives us eternal life and satisfies our deepest longings. As the “light of the world,” Jesus reveals God to the nations. As the “gate for the sheep” and the “good shepherd,” Jesus—like God in Psalm 23—provides security for those who follow Him. As the “resurrection,” Jesus will raise the dead to life. As the “way, the truth, and the life,” Jesus alone shows us the way to God. And as the “true vine,” Jesus—unlike the fruitless vine Israel (Isaiah 5:1–7)—perfectly obeys God and represents Him.
Why Exploring the I AM Statements Matters
Dwelling on these I Am statements helps us to see Jesus as far more than just a likable teacher—He is a Rescuer. He is God in the flesh. He does not merely dispense good advice; He reveals how to experience peace with God and receive eternal life. It is in Him that we find true security and have the deepest longings of our hearts satisfied.
Seen in this light, asking the question, “Who is Jesus?” is the most important question we can ask. And Jesus’s “I Am” statements help us to answer that question correctly.
Learn More about the I AM statements
I Am: How Who Jesus is Changes Everything is a new four-week study that takes an in-depth look at Jesus’s “I Am” statements from the Gospel of John. It explores specific Old Testament passages that provide the context for these statements and shows how they enrich our understanding of Jesus’s statements about Himself. As you spend time studying Jesus’s words, you’ll grow in your knowledge of who Jesus is and see how knowing Him truly changes everything.
Yes, Jesus is certainly likable. But He is so much more. He is our Savior, and He fulfills the desires of our hearts. Be sure to click below to purchase I Am: How Who Jesus is Changes Everything to meditate on and be encouraged by these truths!
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