I AM in John
The purpose of this post is to explore the times when Jesus uses “I am” in the Book of John. I think this adds to John’s purpose of proving that Jesus is the Messiah. There are some loose groupings of how/when Jesus used the term. I will not try and list all of the verses but will leave that up to you and a concordance or a Bible app like BibleGateway.
We use the phrase “I am” in our speech with other people frequently. In Exodus 3:14 the Almighty God choose this phase as the name He wanted Moses and the Israelites to know Him by. As with many translations, our English thoughts and ancient Hebrew usage can yield slightly different meanings. (see I AM – Exodus) But think about it the next time you introduce yourself to someone or announce that you are going somewhere.
To non-Jews Jesus used this phrase when He was talking to the Samaritan Woman and to Pilate. These were at the beginning and end of His earthly ministry. Jesus affirmed to the Woman that He was the Messiah and to Pilate that He was a King – John 4:26/18:37.
What Jesus Said About Himself This is the reason I started thinking about this post. I know there are other sources that will only list seven of these. (Seldom am I in perfect harmony with them.) Remember, this is just from the Gospel of John. They will be out of order.
- 8:58 – before Abraham was born, I am (NIV). The 8th chapter of John has eleven times when Jesus uses “I am”. This is the only time that Jesus actually declares He is God. This was done at the end of a long conversation with the Jews in the Temple. They were going to stone Him and He “slipped away”.
- 4:26 – He told the woman at the well that He was the Messiah.
- 18:37 – Pilate He was a King.
- 6:35 This was after He fed the 5,000. He identified as the Bread of Life (manna).
- 8:12 In the Temple. He is the Light of the World. Jesus says this again in 9:5 as He is healing the man born blind.
- 10:7+9 This is with the “man born blind” – Jesus is the Gate for the Sheep.
- 10:11 He is the Good Shepherd.
- 10:36 He is God’s Son.
- 11: 25 He is the Resurrection and the Life. This was said as He was raising Lazarus and going to Jerusalem for His final Passover.
- 13: 13 Jesus quotes the disciples calling Him Teacher and Lord.
- 15:1+5 He calls Himself the True Vine. This was in His last meal on Thursday of Holy Week.
- 14: 10,11, and 20 Jesus says He is in the Father. Even without this one, I am over the seven.
He Is Going Away I count seventeen times Jesus says He is going away. 20:17 is to Mary at the garden tomb. The other times He says this in private and before a crowd starts in Chapter 7:34 and 8:14+21. Here He was in the Temple. The majority of these announcements are during Holy Week and are in chapters 13, 14, 16, and 17. Jesus told the Disciples but they could not hear these as a prophecy. He told them plainly in 12:36 that He was to be “lifted up”.
The Mob 18:5,6, and 8 takes place in the Garden with Judas and the mob. They are looking for Jesus of Nazareth and He answers with “I am He”. My post the Root, Branch, Fruit deals with the prophecy you “cannot find” in Matthew 2:23. The key is the word netzer which means branch and is the root for Nazareth.
Great Commission – John’s Style 20:21 has Jesus telling the Disciples “I am sending you”. Jesus compares His order to what the Father did with Him. Jesus has also given them “peace” and then breaths on them so receive the Holy Spirit. Pentecost and their next step in God was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. During the Counting of the Omer, the Disciples spent time with Jesus before the Ascension and their ten days of intense prayer.