Did Jesus Identify Himself as God?
There is no prophet other than Jesus that could or dare say he who believes in me or abides in me has eternal life, (Jn.6:35,47;11:25; Jn.15) Or asked to the people to follow me (Mt.19:21;10:21; Lk. 18:22). Nor could any other prophet state that there are massive consequences for not believing who he said he is. There is probably no more of an important statement than when Jesus said to the people “for if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
It is recorded of Jesus saying “I am” 23 times in the gospels, 7 of these are specifically stated to identify his being in John's gospel, as John consistently uses the number 7 throughout his writings.
John's entire Gospel concentrates on his deity, and we begin to understand fully what Jesus meant when He applied the name God gave to Moses at the burning bush. Jesus makes seven important “I am” statements about himself that are spread out over his 3 years of earthly ministry.
1) John 6:35: “... I AM the bread of life”
This is the first of the “I AM” proclamations contained in the book of John. This was said in the discourse which followed the feeding of the multitude. During the discourse, Jesus tells the crowd, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (6:27). As He seeks to elicit faith in Himself, He is met with a challenge to “demonstrate His credentials.” They ask him, “What sign do you do that we may see and believe?” To this they add, “Our forefathers ate manna in the desert, as it is written: 'He gave them bread to eat'“ (v.31). Referring to when Moses gave them the manna supernaturally. Jesus goes on to correct their misunderstanding, He states, “I tell you the truth, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it was my Father” (v.32). To that He adds, “My father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven” (v.33). Jesus reminds them that God gave sustenance but now He Himself is “the bread of God come down from heaven” (v.33). They were not asking for this bread from heaven, they were hungry and are thinking carnally, so their understanding is lacking until the conversation continues to develop.
In response to their request that Jesus makes the claim, “I AM the bread of life, he who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (v.35). The Israelites in the desert in their sojourn with Moses had two constant complaints, hunger and thirst. But Jesus is not speaking of the physical but the spiritual. He is saying that He is the answer to the needs of the human heart, He alone is our source of spiritual nourishment. Since bread is a basic food universally, his statements claim that He fulfils this role for everyone. He is (the Savior of the world)”, and gives life to the world (v.33). Jesus alone, is the bread of life. All other bread one will hunger again, like manna in the wilderness it was good for the day it was given but not the next day. It would sustain their hunger; once tasted, they would be satisfied. As the Psalmist writes taste and see the Lord Is good.
Jesus identified himself as the sustenance man needs to survive to be preserved from death. He used the scripture reference on the Devil himself when he was tempting him to eat and prove he was actually the Son of God. John 6:51: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;”
Matt 4:3-4: “Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'“ This verse is a quote of Deut. 8:2-3 where Israel was led by God through the wilderness and hungered, it was God that fed her manna for her survival, where God said “that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.”
John 6:35: Shall not hunger-Strong double with first aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive, “shall not become hungry.” Shall never thirst - the future active indicative instead of the aorist subjunctive as above, an even stronger form of negation (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament.)
He that comes to me is reflective of the psalmist Ps 42:1-2: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” It is the same principle answer Jesus gave to the woman at the well. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”( John 4:13-14).
“he is to the soul what bread is to the body, nourishes and supports the spiritual life” (from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary)
When Jesus spoke, “I AM the bread of life,” The true bread from heaven. The bread of God is he who comes down from heaven” he is making His heavenly origins known.
2)John 8:12: “I AM the light of the world”
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
This is spoken in the first person, “I,” showing he alone has possession of this title.
It was at the beginning of creation that there was only darkness and as the first activity to earth God brought light to divide the darkness. “Then God said, Let there he light; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good” (Genesis 1:3-4).
Light is often used throughout the Scripture in reference to His word as truth. The Word of God, (the law of God) is as a light to guide the path of those who look to follow righteous instruction Ps 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Prov. 6:23). God or God's Word, the Bible, are frequently represented as light or a lamp to enlighten and guide the believer in a world of darkness (John 1:5). “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalms 119:105). Echoing Jn. 8:12 and its allusion to walking in the light of life John writes in 1Jn.1:7: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one” which is a reference to an admonishment of the prophet Isaiah ( 2:5) “O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the LORD.” To not walk in his ways is to walk in darkness, meaning one walks in ignorance and sin, to not walk in truth means they are severed from their communion with God.
God's light is seen in his revelation (Ezek. 1:4,13,26-28), and salvation (Hab. 3:3-4). Job 29:3: “When His lamp shone upon my head, and when by His light I walked through darkness.” Ps 43:3: “Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me.” The Psalmist also declared, “The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Psalms 27:1). Light is also used as a symbol of holiness and purity.
Psalm 44:3: “…it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them.” The arm of the lord is symbolic of the Messiah, his activity on earth.
Light also represents goodness, and God's redemptive work. It is juxtaposed with darkness, which symbolizes sin, evil, the works of Satan. An example of light used for the word- Isa. 8:20: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
John introduces us to Jesus as both the light and life in the beginning of his gospel. In his Prologue, the Incarnate Word is “the life,” “the life was the light of men”.
John 1:3-5 “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Darkness being a representative of what is fallen, ignorance or sin.
Speaking of John he says John 1:8-9: “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” John is telling us Jesus is the revelation of truth and salvation for everyone who ever lived.
The Word visited men as light before he was incarnated (John 1:9; 9:5), and light accompanied the incarnation (John 3:19-21; 8:12; 12:46), that was full of grace and truth.
In His second “I AM” statement He once again picks up the light metaphor, and expands what he has previously written. I. Jn 1:5 “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” This affirms that Jesus is the true light, the light of men.
John 3:19: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” V.21: “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” Ps 107:10-11 “Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons-- Because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the Most High.”
The expression to not walk in darkness and walk or live in light is consistently used in the Old Testament. Micah 7:8: “when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.” Isa. 50:10: “ Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely upon his God.”
I Jn. 1:6-7: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
John 8:12: “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John in the beginning of his gospel informs us of Jesus being the light of the world, (which is a reference to Genesis), here John states that Jesus makes the claim out loud (Jn. 9:5; 12:35-36, 46). John tells us Jesus made this claim in Jn. 8:12 at the Feast of Tabernacles, at the temple courts. The backdrop to (7:14) the Feast of Tabernacles is important, two major symbolic ceremonies took place. The first was the outpouring of water on the steps by the Levitical priests, as the choir sang the Great Hallel (Ps. 113-18). The second was the lighting of several large candelabras (Menorah) in the temple area which lit up the temple to be seen for miles. Jesus took the opportunity of using these two ritualistic symbols to illustrate His teachings and person (7:37-38; 8:12).
The Tabernacle was made to host the presence of God over the ark in the Holy of Holies. But before one could enter they would go through the holy place which had the lampstand, the only natural light in the tabernacle.
Exod. 35:14-15: 'also the lampstand for the light, its utensils, its lamps, and the oil for the light; 'the incense altar, its poles, the anointing oil, the sweet incense, and the screen for the door at the entrance of the tabernacle;(also Exodus 39:37-39). The lampstand was made of the most expensive material on earth pure gold.
Exod. 27:20: “And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. Lev 24:2 the pure oil came from pressed olives which were for the light, “to make the lamps burn continually.
In John 8:20, Jesus spoke these words in the Court of the Women, the most public part of the temple. Four golden candelabra stood there, each with four golden bowls, each one was filled from oil. These were lighted on the first night of the Feast of Tabernacles (in reference to the memory of the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night). The figure itself was familiar to them all, drawn from prophecy and tradition. According to Hebrew tradition, God is light and Light was one of the names of the Messiah (Isa 9:1; 42:6; 49:6; 60:1-3; Mal 4:2; Luke 2:32.) John 8:12 amidbar Rabba: “The Israelites said to God, O Lord of the universe, thou commandest us to light lamps to thee, yet thou art THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD: and with thee the light dwelleth.”
With this as the background, his exclusive claim (repeated in John 9:5) of being the light of the whole world, Jesus was proclaiming himself as the fulfillment of their Jewish religion given to them by God.
The light metaphor is found in Old Testament events and typology. The glory (the presence of God) in the cloud led the Hebrews to the promised land (Ex. 13:21-22), and protected them from their enemies (Ex. 14:19-25). The Israelites were sang, “the LORD is my light and my salvation” (Ps. 27:1). Isaiah the prophet tells us that the Servant of the LORD (Messiah) was given as a light to the Gentiles, that He might bring salvation to the ends of the earth (Isa. 49:6). The coming Millennial Age would be a time when the LORD Himself would be the light of His people (Isa. 60:19-22; Rev. 21:23-24).
Jesus' declaration at the Temple made it clear who He is. He is not the light of the Jews only, but “the light of the World.” His reference to being the light of every man is telling those who reject him, reject God. That a person's eternal destiny depends on their acknowledgement and acceptance of who He claims to be.
One cannot praise God in truth and deny the deity of the Son of God. God is described as light or clothed in light Isa. 60:19: “the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory” Ps. 104:2: “Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, who stretch out the heavens like a curtain” Jesus is called by Paul in 1 Cor. 2:8, is the “Lord of glory” a term of deity because it refers to God’s shekinah; his light.
Jesus halfway through his ministry personally revealed this to his three closest disciples. Matthew 17:2: “and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” Luke 9:29: “the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.” V.32 “when they (the apostles) were fully awake, they saw His glory.” In 2 Peter 1:17-19 Peter calls this the “holy mountain. V.19 “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,” this is reminiscent of when Moses came to Horeb, the mountain of God. Exodus 3:1-5: “And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. V.4 “God called to him from the midst of the bush and said in v. 5 where you stand is holy ground.”
John 12:46 “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” But those who reject him and his message the Bible says, “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Cor 4:4). The gospel is considered light because it is focused on the one who is the light of the world. 2 Cor. 4:6: “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
2 Tim. 1:10: “Has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel ”
1 Tim. 6:15-16: “Which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” Jesus is the King of Kings and lord of Lords (Rev.17:14)
3) John 10:9 “I AM the door.”
“I AM the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
The next “I AM” saying of Jesus is found within a number of “figures of speech” (v.6), which consists of some prominent metaphors. For example, “sheep pen” (10:1), “shepherd” (v.2), “watchmen” (v.3) “door”, or, “gate” (v.3). The door is the entry into a house.
A shepherd has to be constantly vigilant to keep the safety of his sheep. In biblical times they would lay themselves down in front of the only way in or out of the sheep pen to guard the flock. Jesus begins his discourse by saying in V.1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” They must come through the shepherd who guards the doorway to enter the pen.
The wilderness tabernacle had all the tribes of Israel camped around it. When it was erected it had only one way in – through the Tribe of Judah, Jesus is of the tribe of Judah. This too is what Jesus meant by being the door.
Thus in answer to our question, we see that Jesus is saying He Himself, and no other, is the means by which the sheep may enter into the promised fullness of life John 10:9-11: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
To be “saved”, means having “eternal life.” As the other I AM sayings, this one also emphasizes deity.
4) John 10:11 “I AM the Good Shepherd”
John 10:11 “I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
The next I AM saying of Jesus is found in the same discourse of him being the door, chapter 10 verve 1, Jesus speaks of “the shepherd.” He now adds an adjective to the word shepherd, and makes the claim “I AM the good shepherd” (10). Here again Jesus is contrasting Himself with the religious leaders, whom He is speaking too, who are not good shepherds, or as they are called in the passage, “the hired hand,” (vv.12-13). He is referring to the Pharisees, as hirelings, in verse 13, for the hired hand is “not caring for the sheep.”
When Jesus used the term “the good shepherd”, He is speaking of His intrinsic goodness, His moral nature and beauty. In His using the term “shepherd”, He is speaking of His position over the people. He is the shepherd of the sheep, He is the one who protects, leads, guides and nourishes the sheep. In turn, the sheep are utterly defensive and totally dependant upon the Shepherd. It is hard not to see an allusion to Ps 23, where David stated the LORD is my Shepherd, who protects, leads, guides and nourishes His sheep. Jesus is also referring to His mission. On at least three occasions, He spoke of “laying down” His life for the sheep (vv.15,17,18). The Shepherd, who protects the sheep, protects them to the point of death. The Shepherd is also the sacrificial “lamb of God” (1:29, 35), who willingly lays down His life for the sheep. “The death of Jesus was appointed for salvation not just for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” that He was to lay down His life, but also for the “other sheep” (10:16), the Gentiles.
The shepherd of the Old Testament is found to be both a leader and a companion to his sheep (1Sam. 17:34-37, David protecting his sheep. He knows his flock and is gentle with them (Prov. 27:23; Mt.11:28) --carries the in his arms (Isa 40:11) --rescues them from danger (Amos 3:12) Isa.53 “Like sheep we have all of us wandered away,” The shepherd seeks after the lost sheep (Ezek. 34:12; Luke 15:4-7).
He is making one flock, united and watched over by one Shepherd (v.16). How can the death of one man be the redemption of so many, unless he is more than man.
Christ is called the Good Shepherd (John 10), the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:48), the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20-21.
It was Jesus who it is written of Mt. 9:36: “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
He was the one who opened the gate to allow the sheep to go in and out and the wolves would have to get by him guarding the flock.
Micah 5:2 Not only tells us where Jesus will be born but who he is 'But you Bethlehem-Ephratah, in the land of Judah, for out of you will come a ruler who will be called the shepherd of my people”
Here Jesus infers to himself as the shepherd people are to follow John 12:26: “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also.” Jesus makes it clear those who follow God will follow him. John 10:26-30: “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. “I and My Father are one.”
Notice the sheep are Jesus’, they hear His voice, they are in his hands and the Fathers, and He gives them eternal life. If one does not follow Jesus, it is because they are not his sheep. No man could ever claim this much less do this.
There is only one shepherd from the Old Testament continuing in the New Testament. Ezek.34:23, Zech.11:4-14, Zech.13:7 Christ claimed he was the fulfillment of these prophecies (Jn.10:8,11,14).
It is the Son who is to guide and lead one to green pastures and still waters. John 10:14-16: “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
Rev 7:17: “for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
5)John 11:25 “I AM the Resurrection and the Life”
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
This is the hope of mankind, not to die permanently but to live again.This I AM statement was made to Martha, whose brother Lazarus had recently died. Jesus purposely postponed getting to Lazarus until the 4th day. When Jesus told her that Lazarus would rise again she understood this as “the resurrection of the last day” (11:23-24). It is at this point that He makes this astonishing claim, “I AM the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me , even if he dies, he will live, and everyone who lives, and believes in me will certainly not die.” (11:25-26). This claim was proven by raising of Lazarus from the dead (v.44). John said in his Prologue Jesus, (the Word), was life (Jn. 1:4). But Jesus is not simply stating that He imparts life, but that He Himself is resurrection and life. He being the resurrection means that even if death finds one first it will not be final, or permanent.
John 2:19-21 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (speaking of the temple of His body.)”
John 10:17-18: “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” Jesus is telling us that He will raise his own dead body up again. It is one thing to raise others who are dead, it is another thing to raise oneself from the dead when they are dead.
His claim to be “the resurrection” shows us that he has power over death, even His own, which no man or prophet could ever claim. Every human who lived ends with death and we cannot change. John writes about Jesus a man called Lord whom can have control over life and death. He such power that even death must release its grip. This cannot be said of any other man, but can only be spoken of someone who is more than just a man, but divine, and He proved what He said.
6) John 14:6 “I AM the way, the truth, and the life”
Jesus said to him, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
This next is associated with the previous statement “I AM the Resurrection and the Life.” It is being explained to those who have committed to following Jesus. This encompasses many of the other statements, it is a three in one statement. On the eve before our Lord's crucifixion, Jesus participated in the Passover, the Lord's Supper, and announces His approaching departure (13:33, 36; 14:2-3). He tells his disciples “You know the way to the place where I am going” (14:4). Thomas is puzzle and responds, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way? Jesus replies, “I AM the way and the truth and the life” and explains “No-one comes to the Father except through me” (14:6). Jesus is explaining three distinct things about Himself. He is 1) “the way.” 2) “the truth” and 3) “the life.” All are facets of the one God and his grace for mankind to be reconciled.
Jesus refers to going to His Fathers house and says if you want to follow “I AM the way,” that way is through me (v.6). The way of salvation leads to the Father. He is not one of many ways to God that we can choose, but “the” ONLY way. This claim eliminates all others and asserts His 'uniqueness'. We should have no other ways of approaching God. His substitution, atoning death is the way. The first act after he died was to make the way into the temple open showing that the new covenant is established. Now it is only through His death that sinners are reconciled to God.
Second, He is “the truth.” This speaks of absolute assurance and reliability in what he says and does. Whatever the Father gave him to say and do, He did perfectly, all that He has said and done can be trusted in, not simply because He tells the truth, but because He is the truth incarnate (1:1,14). The complete revelation of God is found in him and he is properly called God (1:1, 18; 20:28). He is God's revelation, his “Word”, made flesh (1:14).
Third, Jesus states that He is “the life” means “I AM the resurrection and the life,” that he is able to give life even to those who died. “ That He is self- existent like the Father (5:16). He is the life and the source of life to others (3:16). “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.” (John 5:21)
This claim is an exclusive position for Jesus. He is the one way to God, he is thoroughly reliable, and he stands in a relation to truth that no one else does.
When Jesus used the “I AM” construction by itself or attached to an Old Testament example he was indicating His divinity. John is communicating this in various manners to show who the Messiah is from the Old Testament background.
7) John 15:1 “I AM the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”
Now we come to the final I AM statement that was given in the upper room discourse. Jesus declares twice that He is “the vine.” On the first occasion He links Himself with the Father, when He says “I AM the true vine, and my Father is the gardener”, or, “vinedresser” (15:1). The second occasion He links Himself with the believer, when He declares, “I AM the vine; you are the branches” and explains how we will bear fruit because of the indwelling of the Savior to those who believe and reside in him (15:5).
In the Old Testament the vine which was planted is God’s vineyard (symbol of Israel). Ps. 80:8-9: “You have brought a vine out of Egypt; You have cast out the nations, and planted it. You prepared room for it, And caused it to take deep root, And it filled the land.” V.14-15 “Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts; Look down from heaven and see, and visit this vine and the vineyard which Your right hand has planted, And the branch that You made strong for Yourself.”V.17 Identifies the branch as a certain individual. “Let your hand be on the man of your right hand, upon the Son of man whom you made strong for yourself.” The vineyard is Israel, the Branch is Christ. Zech. 6:12-13:
But the vine 'is burned with fire' (Ps. 80:16) symbolizing judgment. The nation Israel has failed in God's calling on being 'a light for the Gentiles' (Is. 49:6), to bring God's salvation 'to all the ends of the earth'... so after Jesus leaves he puts this mission to individuals that follow him, being lights in this world as he being the true light leaves. The vine which has been judged because of its disobedience, in contrast Jesus is 'the true vine', the obedient Son who fulfills the purpose of Israel’s calling, the world would be reached, Gen. 12:2-3 “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Gal. 3:8: “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed."
We are sent into the world as representatives of Jesus, to carry the gospel until he comes. Jesus' saying, I am the vine; you are the branches in New Testament teaching has a two fold meaning. First- to exhibit qualities of Christian character reflected of the one we abide in (Matt. 3:8; 7:20; Rom. 6:22; Gal. 5:22). Second to bless the world bring fruit into his kingdom.
John 15:5: “He who remains in me, and I in him', says Jesus 'this man bears much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing'. John 15:16: “but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain” Col 1:10: “that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
The transformation of the believer into Christ like character takes place by the work of the indwelling Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9). This I AM saying, like the others, indicates His deity, for only God can indwell all the people.
Conclusion of the Scripture
Jesus explained (Jn.5:37) “And the Father himself, who sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” Jesus gives the source of his commission, which is from the Father personally. It is the Fathers voice and form they have not seen, yet Christ has stated “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18) perfectly revealed his nature to mankind.
John 14:1: “you believe in God, believe also in Me.”
John 14:9: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”
John 12:44-45: “Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. "And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.”
Christ is called the exact image of the invisible Father (Heb.1:1), he is the voice that the people heard, he is the one they saw living in front of them. He said that they search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life but they testify of me.”(v.39) Are we to believe the Scriptures testify of only a human being and not God himself? In the end of the discourse Jesus says in vs.46-47: “If you believed Moses you would believe Me; for he wrote about me. But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
When did Moses write of him? Deut.18:15-19: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, “according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.' “And the LORD said to me: 'What they have spoken is good. 'I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 'And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.”
Jesus claims to be the prophet Moses spoke of. Notice that it says they did not want to hear the voice of the Lord anymore or see his glory in Horeb. Then God says he will put his words in a future prophets mouth if they do not listen to his words, then God will require it of him.” This very thing Jesus said of himself in John 8:23-30 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.”
Back in the Book of Exodus, Moses asked God what His name is. God responds to Moses by saying, “My name is I AM”- the self-existent One. This I AM in the Hebrew is the name of God, (YHWH) where we get “Yahweh.”The Hebrew of Ex.3:14 is “hayah asher hayah” “I am that I Am,” Ego eimi is the LXX translation of Exod. 3:14. Ego eimi is applied to “the one who is I AM” in fact where we find “I am,” the LXX (Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) it states “ego eimi.”
Jesus in the New Testament uses all the examples to show who he is. The I AM sayings are with a predicate, the Greek words 'ego eimi' used by John are distinct and are applied only to Jesus. “I AM the Bread of Life” “I AM the Light of the World” “ I AM the good shepherd” “I AM the door.” “I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life” “I AM the resurrection and the life” “I AM the True Vine.”
These last two “I AM” statements (without the predicate) are explicit and have the intent of revealing his personhood to his hearers.
John 8:23-24: And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I AM from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; “for if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” When we read all this in context we now understand that He is identifying that he came from heaven to earth, he is not just a man and twice repeats about their dying in sin if they do not believe he is the I AM from above.
“The phrase egoo (NT:1455) eimi (NT:1491) occurs three times here (John 8:24,28,58) and also in John 13:19. Jesus seems to claim absolute divine being as in John 8:58 (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament).
It is evident that Jesus was declaring His deity, even to the point that they became sinful if they refuse it. For no man finds his origin in heaven. John has previously stated that the Jews tried to kill Jesus, for the same reason-“He was calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (5:18).
Then they said to Him, "Who are You?" And Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning’ (John 8:25).
To make the point again in his conversation,“Before Abraham was “I Am” (Jn. 8:58). He is saying “Yahweh is my name.” He is not saying that he existed from or before Abrahams time. Jesus has made a definitive statement that before Abraham came into existence or was born He (Jesus) was there. I have existed before all ages, before anything was created. It speaks of an eternal existence without respect to time of which only God can exist. Psalm 90:2: "From everlasting to everlasting thou art God."
“John 8:58: Before Abraham was brought into being, I exist. The statement, therefore, is not that Christ came into existence before Abraham did-as Arians affirm is the meaning: it is that he never came into being at all, but existed before Abraham had a being; which, of course, was as much as to say that He existed before all creation, or from eternity, as in John 1:1 (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary.)
Hence, Abraham "came into being, or was born" genesthai (NT:1086). Jesus' life was from and to eternity. Hence, the formula for "absolute, timeless" existence, "I am" egoo (NT:1455) eimi (NT:1491) (from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)
“I am egoo (NT:1455) eimi (NT:1491). Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God. The contrast between genesthai (NT:1086) (entrance into existence of Abraham) and eimi (NT:1491) (timeless being) is complete.(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
We can only come to the conclusion that the “I AM” statements of Jesus were intentional, communicating what they were familiar with from Old Testament teachings and practices to prove the deity of Jesus the Christ to those who could hear his spiritual speech.
Mark 13:6: "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and will deceive many.” (I am he, “he” is not in the original.) Luke 21:8-9 adds, 'The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them.” Before the real I AM returns He warns many will impersonate him. Mt. 24:5: "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.” If one puts all these warning statements together we learn several things. First that he is tasking the name God gave Moses and applying it to himself. Second that to claim to be Christ is the same as claiming to be I am, God. I AM is his name forever (Heb. Hayah ashur hayah, Gr. ego eimei; Exod. 3:14-15 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." 'The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.”