On Monday I had a post on the book of John. I pointed to a series of “7s” in John, including 7 “I am” statements of Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the…bread of life; light of the world; gate of the sheep; good shepherd; resurrection and life; way, truth and life; true vine.”
Many of these are well-known, and each are worth individual study and contemplation. John 14:6 says:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Observe that verse. The point is already clear, but if you observe it even closer, the point becomes extra clear. Note the little part-of-speech: the.
It is the instead of a. A is an indefinite article. The is a definite article.
It makes a different point.
I am a way -vs- I am the way.
Furthermore, what is the way? It is Jesus himself. Other religious leaders would teach and show their followers a way of life. But Jesus goes beyond this. He is the way. And then Jesus finishes with: “No one comes to the Father except through me.”
But I want to delve into another aspect. I AM. Those two words “I am” have profound significance.
In John 8:56-59, Jesus is conversing with some pharisees, and they essentially ask Jesus (to use modern vernacular) “who do you think you are?”
Jesus responds, “Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I am!” (verse 59).
The pharisees response? They picked up stones to stone him. They realized the implications of his words. Jesus was equating Himself with the “I AM” title God gave Himself in Exodus 3.
In Exodus 3, we find the burning bush episode where God instructs Moses to represent Israel and go to Pharaoh. Verses 13 -15 state:
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.
15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.
God makes several statements: I am who I am. Moses is to tell the Israelites “I am” sent him and further that “the LORD, the God of your fathers” sent him.
LORD is the rendering of Yahweh or Jehovah. And there is a connection between the “I am” in verse 14 and LORD/Yahweh in verse 15. The personal name of God, Yahweh, is built from the Hebrew word “to be.” Verse 14 uses an alternate form of the verb in the first person, “I am.” This likely refers to God’s eternal self-existence and his relationship with his people.
When a Christian hears “I am” – rather than think of self – we should think of our Savior…who is the bread of life; light of the world; gate of the sheep; good shepherd; resurrection and life; way, truth and life; and true vine.
Our hope, direction, and meaning in life flow from the eternal I AM of the burning bush who revealed himself in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.