Exploring ‘I AM’ Statements in John: Part Four

September 6, 2023

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” –John 15:4-5

Jesus is the Bread of Life—our Spiritual sustenance. He is the Light of the World—the One who shines into the darkness of sin and sets us free. The Son is the I AM—fully eternal, faithful, and self-existent God. Christ is the Door of the Sheep and the Good Shepherd—the narrow way that we must walk in and our tender shepherd who leads and guides us in it. The LORD is the Resurrection and the Life—the source, author, giver, and director of all life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life—through believing in the One who is Truth, we receive Life and can walk in His Way. Christ is our True Vine—through abiding in Him we can bear the fruit of loving Him and one another as His disciples. 

These are some of the truths that we’ve been delving into over the past few months as we’ve looked at each of these I AM statements of Jesus found in the Gospel of John. Christ’s final I AM statement harkens back to what He declared in John 8:58, and ultimately is an awe-inspiring fulfillment of Exodus 3.


“When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” -John 18:1-6

This passage is perhaps the only recorded instance where Jesus Christ claims His deity simply by proclaiming His Name. In the Greek, the words for “I am He” are “egō” and “eimi”, so what Jesus says in this passage literally translates to “I AM.” 

The first time the LORD proclaims that His Name is “I AM” is in Exodus 3, the passage where we began this series: “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)

This proclamation comes as God is preparing to rescue His people Israel from slavery in Egypt and lead them into the promised land. By His grace, mercy, and faithfulness, this was finally accomplished, largely through His servant Moses.

In John 18, Jesus Christ, who is the Prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-18), is preparing to rescue His people as well. But this time, the rescue would be salvation from the inescapable bondage of sin, and the promised land would be eternity in the presence of God. And this time, that salvation would be for all who believe, not just the people of Israel. By His grace, mercy, and faithfulness, Christ accomplished this for us once for all, and He did it by suffering and dying a brutal death.

This should be a humbling fact that causes us to worship—the Great I AM yielded willingly to arrest, torture, and death on our behalf! The fact that Judas Iscariot and the soldiers and officers with him drew back and fell to the ground when Jesus spoke those two words is undeniable proof that He could have chosen to use His might and power as fully God to subdue His enemies in a show of physical victory. And yet, He “yielded His life an atonement for sin”, and ultimately showed glorious spiritual victory through His death and resurrection. Victory in destroying death, sin, and “the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil”, and victory in delivering “all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)

To all of Jesus’ I AM statements, and perhaps this one in particular, I can think of no more fitting a response than this: 

“Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice! Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son, and give Him the glory, great things He hath done!”  (To God be the Glory” by Fanny Crosby)

May we continually praise and give glory to the great I AM who has graciously rescued us, and who guides and sustains us every day of our lives!

Written by NBB Alumna: Bethany Boone

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