What did Jesus mean when He said "I AM"?
When Jesus used the phrase "I AM," He made specific revelations regarding His identity and nature. These revelations made it clear to all that He was claiming to be much more than a rabbi or prophet; Jesus claimed to be the Messiah—God in human form.
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In John's Gospel, Jesus makes seven references to Himself using "I am." They include the following:
"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger" (John 6:35).
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).
"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:9).
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10:11).
"I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live" (John 11:25).
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser" (John 15:1).
We find Jesus as One who satisfies (bread of life), One who gives life (light), One who offers salvation (gate), One who dies for us (good shepherd), the resurrection and the life, the way, truth, and life, and the true (real, legitimate) vine. As such, Jesus fulfills the prophecies of the Old Testament regarding the Messiah, predicted His resurrection, and presents Himself as the only way of salvation.
One additional "I am" reference in John's Gospel offers another clear look at Christ's identity. In John 8:58, he answered the religious leaders, saying, "Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." This was a clear reference to Exodus 3:14, where God revealed His name to Moses as "I AM." The reason the religious leaders wanted to kill Him was because Jesus claimed to be God.
Some skeptics today argue that Jesus never claimed to be God in the Bible. They promote the idea that Jesus was made God hundreds of years later by a church council in ways that are not supported in Scripture or history. However, a look at the "I am" statements in John's Gospel plainly confirms the identity of Jesus. He claimed to fulfill the prophecies regarding the Messiah, ultimately equating Himself with the great "I AM," God Almighty.
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