Jesus' Identity Statements
The Apostle John records several of Jesus' identity statements. I am sure we have all heard messages on these before, but allow your mind and spirit to be refreshed with these incredible statements:
"I am the bread of life" (John 6:35, NIV). In this statement Jesus was claiming to be the source of spiritual life – which we need on a daily basis.
"I am the light of the world" (John 8:12, NIV). In this passage he was claiming to be the source of spiritual knowledge and truth. Only through him we can understand ultimate reality, God, life, and ourselves.
"I tell you the truth…before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58, NIV). Jesus had just told his audience (followers and skeptics, including some Pharisees) that he was the light of the world. He adds: "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8 32, NIV). The Pharisees responded by saying they were already free being Abraham's descendants. Jesus then served them with a stinging challenge. He said that they were descendants of Abraham in ethnicity but not in faith. Jesus then accused them of having a different father (John 8: 44, 45). "We are not illegitimate children", the Pharisees argue, implying that Jesus was born illegitimate (referencing that Mary was pregnant before she and Joseph were married). The argument heats up further and Jesus claims not only to know Abraham personally and experientially, but he does so by using a very meaningful term: "I am". This of course is the name of God. "I am" describes absolute eternal existence, not simply existence prior to Abraham. It is a claim to the Yahweh of the Old Testament ("I am who I am" in Exodus 3:14). The Pharisees understood exactly what Jesus was saying and they wanted to punish him by stoning him for this blasphemous claim (John 8:59). The inescapable point here is that Jesus claimed to be God.
"I am the gate" (John 10:7, 9, NIV). Jesus claimed to be the opening and path that leads to eternal life with God.
"I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11, 14, NIV). Jesus is our guide, our protector, and our provider. Here specifically he referenced the sacrifice shepherds are willing to embrace. Jesus was sacrifice himself for us, his sheep.
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25, NIV). In these powerful words, Jesus announced that he was the source of spiritual, eternal life, and the giver of that life.
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me" (John 14:6, NIV). In this culturally controversial passage Jesus asserted that he was the way for man to find God; the truth by which man discovers ultimate reality in God; the life by which man lives in God and God lives in man. This is our Jesus – our Saviour, our King, and our God.
Partnering together in wonder and worship,
Michael B. Pawelke, DMin