How many of the Gospel of John’s emphatic “I am” descriptions can you name?

Chris —  December 30, 2017 — 1 Comment

The Gospel of John includes seven emphatic statements about the identity of Christ. Meditating on them gives a detailed picture of Christ. It would be a great devotional activity to prayerfully ponder the beauty of these pictures.  

Seven times in the gospel of John Jesus describes himself with the emphatic statement “I am” (ἐγώ εἰμι) followed by a concrete predicate word-picture. In his excellent commentary on the Gospel of John, Mickey Klink summarizes the importance of these statements. 

[The occurrence of the formal “I am” statements] develops further the revelation of the identity of God by means of the Son. These seven “I am” statements, therefore, are emphatic descriptions of the person and ministry of Jesus and cumulatively form a detailed picture of Jesus Christ.

John employs a number of other “I am” statements that are without a predicate (e.g. John 8:58). These informal “I am” statements also communicate the self-revelation of God not in a manner that is to be equated with the seven formal “I am” statements. While all the “I am” statements locate Jesus in the divine identity of God, the informal statements do not identify Jesus as a particular individual (i.e. “the light of the world”) but serve to give insight to the particular qualifications of Jesus. When informal “I am” statements are used the narrative context of the statement directs the reader to the particular qualification in view.” E. Klink (332, emphasis his).

Predicate Context
“the bread of life” 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. John 6:35
“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.” John 8:12
“the gate” So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. John 10:7

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9

“the good shepherd” 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

10:14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me . . .

“the resurrection and the life” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live John 11:25
“the way and the truth and the life” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
“the true vine”  I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. John 15:1

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. 15:5


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