Throughout the Gospel of John we find 7 I Am statements of Jesus. These are statements that Jesus made about himself that reveal who he truly is. And what Jesus reveals about himself is both surprising and encouraging.
Jesus’ I Am statements reveal to us who he is and what he came to do. They show us his nature and his heart towards his people. These are powerful statements that each follower of Jesus should know.
In this blog post we are going to look at Jesus 7 I Am statements and see what they mean. We will be talking a broad overview, but I plan to write a blog post for each statement that will be linked below as they are written.
Let’s dive in.
What Does I Am Mean?
Let’s start by looking at why Jesus chose to reveal himself with I Am statements. These descriptive statements aren’t the only way he describes his nature, but they are a unique way and they certainly stand out.
The Gospel of John isn’t the first place we find “I Am” in the Bible; to find the first time we have to go back to the Old Testament, Exodus 3:14.
In this passage God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh to let the nation of Israel out of captivity. Moses is a little nervous to stand up to the most powerful person in the world, so God told him to tell Pharaoh that “I Am” had sent him.
Prior to this, the Israelites called God ‘Elohim.’ This was a title rather than a personal name. Here God gives a name for his people to call him. But not just any name, a name that conveys his power over all things. He is a powerful, self-sufficient God who is in all, above all, created all, and will always be.
This is the name God gives himself and is used over 300 times throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament.
For more check out: Why Does God Call Himself “I Am Who I Am”?
What Are The I Am Statements?
Now that we know the significance of I Am let’s look at the 7 I Am statements of Jesus. We will start by looking at the statements as they appear in the Bible. Then we will go back through each of them and see what they mean for us today.
1. I Am The Bread Of Life (John 6:35)
2. I Am The Light Of The World (John 8:12)
3. I Am The Gate For The Sheep (John 10:7)
4. I Am The Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
5. I Am The Resurrection And The Life (John 11:25)
6. I Am The Way The Truth And The Life (John 14:6)
7. I Am The True Vine (John 15:1)
Mark Moore says this about these I am statements: “Each represents a particular relationship of Jesus to the spiritual needs of men.… He desired that men should receive him, not simply for what he might give them, but for what he might be to them.”
Simply put, the 7 I Am statements of Jesus are an incredible insight into who he really is.
Jesus I Am Statements Explained
Jesus’ I Am statements were not just random adjectives that he pulled out of a hat. These were crafted statements that had a significant meaning to his listeners 2,000 years ago. And when we understand these statements in context they can be just as powerful today.
We will look briefly at each of these statements, but I plan to write a blog post for each statement that more fully looks at each of the I am statements in John.
I Am The Bread Of Life
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35
It’s no mistake that Jesus compares himself to bread here. Just prior Jesus had fed 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and a fish. Even today this would be an incredible miracle, but in Jesus’ day food was scarce so it was even more incredible. And as a result the crowd is following Jesus because they want more free food.
But Jesus had something more for them. He knows that physical food would only fill them temporarily, but what he has for them is enteral.
In the Old Testament God sent manna (bread) from heaven to sustain the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness. But that manna only met a temporary need; eventually all who ate it died. Jesus is better than that manna. He is the bread of life and whoever believes in him will have eternal life.
To learn more about the bread of life check out: The Astonishing John 6:35 Meaning (I Am The Bread Of Life)
I Am The Light Of The World
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Just as food was scarce in the 1st Century so was light. Today when we want light we simply flip a switch and the darkness is gone. But in Jesus’ day when it was dark, it was DARK. So when Jesus calls himself the light, it’s a big deal.
What makes this statement even more significant is that Jesus said it at the Feast Of Tabernacles. During this feast the Israelites would light a huge candelabra as a reminder of God guiding their ancestors through the wildness. Jesus is showing them that he is their light, their guiding force through this world.
The reality is the world around us is darkened by sin. We can see the brokenness all around us. But we don’t have to stumble through it blindly. Just as God was the light that led the Israelites when they were lost in the wilderness, Jesus will light our way through the darkness around us.
I Am The Gate For The Sheep
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.” John 10:7
A shepherd’s role was to guide and protect the sheep. Similarly this was supposed to be the role of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day, but they were failing miserably. Rather than protecting they were taking advantage of their flock, their people. Jesus uses this statement to show the error in their way.
To fully understand what being a gate, or door, for the sheep means, we need to understand what a shepherd’s job looked like in the 1st Century.
Mark Moore in The Chronological Life Of Christ says this, “Shepherds often functioned as a door to the sheep pen. When the sheep came in the fold at night, they would pass the shepherd one at a time. He would examine them for cuts and abrasions. If necessary he would treat them with oil to avoid infection. Then, when the whole flock was in, he would lay himself in front of the opening of the pen.”
This is the picture of what Jesus does for his followers, his flock. He cares for them and protects them. With him laying in the door they are safe.
For more about this I Am statement check out: The Powerful Meaning Of John 10:10 (the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy)
I Am The Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
This I Am statement comes immediately after the previous and builds off of it. And if you read John 10:11-18 you will see Jesus describe in detail the level of care he provides for his sheep.
Here’s what he does:
- He lays down his life for his sheep.
- He protects the sheep from attacks.
- He will not abandon his sheep.
- He cares for his sheep.
- He searches for sheep and brings them into his pen.
- He knows his sheep.
- He loves his sheep.
Jesus is the good shepherd because he displays incredible and loving care for his sheep.
For more about this I Am statement check out: “I Am The Good Shepherd” (what you need to know about the John 10:11-18 meaning) and The Powerful Meaning Of John 10:10 (the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy)
I Am The Resurrection And The Life
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25
In John 11 we see Jesus’ friend Lazarus die. In response Jesus tells his grieving sister, Martha, that he (Jesus) is the resurrection and the life. Jesus is offering words of hope in the middle of despair. In him, even death doesn’t have the final say.
But these aren’t just words that Jesus said, he backed it up. A few verses later he raised Lazarus from the dead showing his power over death. And later we see Jesus die and rise again, defeating death once and for all.
Jesus is the resurrection and the life and all who believe in Jesus will live with him forever.
I Am The Way The Truth And The Life
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
In John 14, the disciples are confused about some of Jesus’ recent teachings. Thomas speaks up and in response Jesus gives them the 6th I Am statement.
In essence what Jesus is doing with this statement is showing the disciples what’s really important. He reminding them to not get caught up in the temporary things in this world, rather to keep their eyes on what is most important: Him.
Following Jesus is the way to find truth and life. Other things might promise truth and the good life. But they will always fall short in delivering. Jesus is the only way to find what each of us truly longs for.
To better understand this I Am statement check out: What “I Am The Way The Truth And The Life REALLY Means (3 powerful truths)
I Am The True Vine
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” John 15:1
On the night of Jesus’ arrest and impending death he told his followers this final I Am statement. Jesus uses this illustration of tending to a vine so that it can grow.
If you are a gardener and you want to produce a crop, then you need to care for it. You need to cut off the bad parts and prune the good parts. This is how you can produce an abundant crop. No branch can grow unless it’s connected to the vine, the source of life.
What Jesus is saying is that he is the vine and we are the branches. If we want to grow then we must remain connected to him. But not just that, he’s also saying God is the gardener and he will do what every good gardener does, prune and cut off. Why? So that we can produce much fruit.
This final I Am statement in John teaches us how we can grow in our faith. First, by connecting to the vine, the source of life. And second, by allowing the gardener to work in our life. It’s not always easy, but it’s for our good.
What Jesus 7 I Am Statements Teach Us
The 7 I am statements of Jesus teach us about his identity and his purpose. Not only do they teach us about him, but also how he sees us. These are bold and powerful statements that should shape how we view him. They show us that God wants what is best for us.
But these statements aren’t just words. They are how Jesus lived and who he is. When you look at his life you will see the 7 I Am statements of Jesus lived out.
If you want to grow your faith and step into the incredible life that God has for you, a great way to start would be to get to know God through these statements. Study them, pray them, live them. Knowing Jesus is the way you can find truth and experience the freedom that he has for you.
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Thanks for reading this blog post on the 7 I am statements of Jesus. I hope that it help you better understand these passages of scripture. If it did, you would share it with a friend so they too can benefit?
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