Exploring ‘I AM’ Statements in John: Part One

May 24, 2023

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘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, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. -Exodus 3:13-15

The Name of the LORD, as given by Himself to Moses in the book of Exodus, is I AM. This Name points to many truths about His character and His perfection. All of Scripture, the inspired Word of God, is a revelation to us of this character. A further revelation of His character is in God Himself come as incarnate man:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. –John 1:1-5, 14

Because Jesus is not only with God but is God, the Name “I AM” belongs fully to Him as well, and as such, it is not surprising that Jesus made at least nine major “I AM” statements throughout His time on earth, specifically documented in the book of John. Today we’ll look a bit more in depth at the first three, and over the next two months we’ll cover the rest. 

I AM the Bread of Life

Jesus makes this statement multiple times, in John 6:35, 48, and 51:

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. … I am the bread of life. … I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 

The Greek word for bread that Jesus uses—“artos”, is not at all unusual. What is unusual is the fact that He uses it with the words “zōē” and “zaō”, the Greek words for “life” and “living” respectively, both of which refer to the fullness of real and genuine life. Jesus claimed to be the only food that one can partake of and have enough nourishment to never die. Without partaking of the Bread of Life, one is, in fact, never spiritually alive at all. How then can we receive this vital nourishment, if we are spiritually dead? Jesus explains a few verses later:

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. -John 6:63

The Holy Spirit must give us this Bread of Life, then through His power we will forever partake in it, through the Words that Christ has spoken.

I AM the Light of the World

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” … “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” -John 8:12, 9:5

The very first recorded words that God spoke were “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) but all too soon humankind was plunged back into darkness through sin. Jesus spoke of this, in light of His coming to earth, in John chapter 3:

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 

Thankfully, however, Jesus does not stop there. In a reminder of Who He is as stated in the first five verses of John, He continues:

But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” -John 3:19-21

Not only is The Word the Bread of Life for us, He also is the Light that shines in all the darkness of the world. When we have partaken of the Bread of Life, we become reflections of His Light to our corners of darkness, to share with those prisoners the freedom they also may have in the Light of Life.


“Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” -John 8:56-58

In this claim of deity, Jesus harkens to the eternality He has as God, declaring that He is self-existent and exists outside of time. It is another reminder of the truth written at the beginning of John that “He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:2).

To those Jewish people and religious leaders who did not recognize Him even as the Messiah, this profession Jesus makes to be fully God would have been more than stunning. But to us as those who have come to the Light and tasted of the Bread of Life, it is comforting. To us it is an assurance that our God’s faithfulness extends beyond time and will never run dry. May we all never cease to praise Him for this, and in response, as John the Baptist did, seek “to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him!” (John 1:7)

Written by NBB Alumna: Bethany Boone

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