Our first introduction to God as ‘I AM’ is when He spoke with Moses in Exodus 3:13-14.
Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what should I tell them?”
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” and he said, “You shall tell the children of Israel this: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
‘I AM’ is a clear declaration, a statement of who God is.
In John 8:58, Jesus made a statement about Himself to the Jewish people, it was a very profound statement as He not only claims His existence before Abraham some 2000 years previous, but also as He equates Himself with God in His reference to Exodus 3:14.
“Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM”. John 8:58
Throughout the Gospel of John there are seven other times that Jesus uses the ‘I AM’ statement about Himself. The declarations not only tell us who Jesus is, His character and purpose, but it also affirms His status as God Himself and His work in the lives of His people.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the seven ‘I AM’ declarations of Jesus.
I AM… The Bread of Life
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will not be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35
Just as physical bread sustains us physically, Jesus, the Bread of Life promises to sustain us spiritually.
Jesus showed He could provide for the crowd’s physical needs when they were hungry, by producing an abundance of food, with leftovers, feeding thousands, all from five loaves and two fish. John 6:1-15
If Jesus can provide for our physical nourishment, how much more, as the Son of God, can He provide for our spiritual nourishment.
Spiritual nourishment and strength comes from knowing Jesus, His love and forgiveness, and growing in our relationship with Him. Only Jesus can truly satisfy. Psalm 107:9 says, “For he satisfies the longing soul. He fills the hungry soul with good”.
I AM… The Light of the World
Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Light is essential to life and growth. Without light plants will not grow, there would be no warmth, no food, no gravitational pull, no life. Without light we would be in the dark and we would not be able to see.
Jesus, as the Light of the World, offers to take us out of the darkness of our old life, and bring us into His light, His glorious presence (1 Peter 2:9). Light can illuminate the good and the bad, where we fall short of God’s perfection, as well as showing us His revelation through His Word (John 1:9).
This light can bring illumination to our day to day life too, as we allow God to guide and lead us, as He shines His Light on our path (Psalm 119:105).
In Matthew 5:14-15 He also asks us to be lights in the world, helping others to find the way out of their darkness and into relationship with Him.
I AM… The Door – of the sheep
Jesus therefore said to them again, “Most certainly, I tell you, I am the sheep’s door. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture. John 10:7.9
We all know what a door is, and we know it’s purpose. It’s an entrance, it’s the way in. Jesus declares that He is the Door to salvation, He is the way to a relationship with God. If we want to enter a room, or a house, we go through door. If we want to enter into a relationship with God, we go through Jesus.
I AM… The Resurrection and the Life
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. John 11:25
Jesus says that He is the Resurrection and the Life, it is a declaration that He has won the victory over death. We see Him demonstrate this in John 11 where, after Lazarus had been dead for 4 days, He called him out from the tomb and raised him from the dead.
Jesus proved again that He had power over death when He rose from the dead (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20). Jesus is alive! He is a living Savior and we can have a living relationship with Him.
For those of us who have put their faith and trust in Jesus, we do not need to fear death, it is a doorway to the heavenly realm where we can spend eternity with God in His presence.
I AM… The Good Shepherd
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who doesn’t own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and flees. The wolf snatches the sheep, and scatters them. The hired hand flees because he is a hired hand, and doesn’t care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I’m known by my own; even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:11-15
What does a shepherd do?
A shepherd’s primary responsibility is to protect the safety and wellbeing of the sheep. Sheep are vulnerable and defenceless, without a Shepherd to protect them they are prey for wolves, thieves, and other dangers.
As our Good Shepherd, Jesus gave His life to protect us and to save us. He wants us to accept His gift of salvation, and He wants to guard and protect us as we do life on our journey with Him.
Psalm 23 speaks beautifully of Jesus our Shepherd, as our provider, comforter, restorer, and guide.
I AM… The Way, the Truth, the Life
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. John 14:6
Jesus is the Way. He is the Way to God, the Way to salvation, the Way when we are lost, the Way when we are afraid. When you are not sure which way to turn, turn to Jesus.
Jesus is the Truth. In a world where truth is no longer an absolute Jesus declares that He is the Truth. He reveals truth, truth about the world, about us, about Himself. In John 8:32 Jesus says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free”. Knowing Jesus, knowing Truth brings freedom.
Jesus is the Life. Faith and salvation in Jesus promises eternal life, life everlasting. In John 10:10 Jesus promises life, not just any life, but an abundant life, a rich, lavish, plentiful life. I’m not speaking here of monetary wealth, I am referring to a spiritual wealth, a life of fullness, meaning, purpose and growth, a truly rewarding life here on earth, and with the promise of eternal life with Him.
I AM… The True Vine
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5
Anyone who has done any gardening, even basic gardening, knows that if you cut of a branch from the main part of the plant, it will die. Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches, we need to remain connected to Him in order to grow and flourish spiritually, allowing His life to flow through us enabling us to grow and bear good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). He is the source of life, now and forever.
Through the I AM statements Jesus promises to be our spiritual nourishment and strength, our illumination and guide, our way to have a relationship with God, our life and victory, our safety and protection, our salvation, freedom and purpose, and our way to spiritual growth.
He is I AM, from the past, in the present and into the future.