Much can be learned about Jesus by simply studying the “I am” statements recorded in John’s Gospel account. There are many, including these:
– I am the bread of life (John 6:35, 48).
– I am the light of the world (8:12; 9:5).
– Before Abraham was, I am (8:58; cf. Ex. 3:2, 4, 6, 14, 15; Mic. 5:2).
– I am the door (10:7).
– I am the good shepherd (10:11, 14).
– I am the Son of God (10:36).
– I am the resurrection and the life (11:25).
– I am your Master and Lord (13:13; cf. 20:28).
– I am (“he” is in italics, so not in the original Text, 13:19).
– I am the way, the truth, and the life (14:6).
– I am in the Father, and the Father in me (14:10).
– I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman…ye are the branches (15:1, 5).
– I am not alone, because the Father is with me (16:32).
– I am not of the world (17:14; cf. 15:18-21; 16:1-3).
– I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth (18:37; cf. 6:63, 66-69; 8:31, 32, 40; 19:21).
– I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God (20:17).
In John 8:58 Jesus equated His eternal nature with YHWH (Yahweh, Jehovah) of the Old Testament (cf. Ex. 3:2, 4, 6, 14, 15; Jn. 8:59). Jesus was/is equal with God the Father in divine nature (Jn. 5:18; Php. 2:6), and He was trying to make people understand that He was not just a man. He was the Son of God, divinity manifested in the flesh (John 1:1-3, 14; 1 Tim. 3:16). He and His Father are “one,” not in number, as if they are both the exact same Person, but one in nature and thought, just as all Christians are to be “one” (John 10:30; 17:17-23; 1 Cor. 1:10-13).
Jesus is equal with God in the sense that they both have the characteristics of being divine, eternal Beings (along with the Holy Spirit, Acts 5:3, 4; Heb. 9:14). However, as that last reference from the list above shows (John 20:17), God the Father is the God of Jesus, which means the Father has authority over the Son. When Jesus was on earth, there was at least one thing the Father knew that the Son did not (when Jesus would return), and Jesus was in complete submission to His Father (Mk. 13:32; Jn. 5:30; 6:38). The New Testament clearly teaches that the Father is still the Head of the Son, even though Jesus has gone back to Heaven (1 Cor. 11:3; 15:27; 2 Cor. 11:31; Eph. 1:3; 4:4-6; Heb. 1:9; 1 Pet. 1:3, etc.).
God sent His Son to bless man with eternal life through Jesus’ Words and deeds, including the greatest deed of all, dying on the cross so our sins could be forgiven if we obey Jesus (Mt. 7:21-27; 28:18-20; Acts 3:26; Heb. 2:9; 5:9; 1 Pet. 1:22-25; 1 Jn. 2:1-6). Having been resurrected, He is now reigning in Heaven as our King, interceding for Christians as they approach God the Father in the name of their Mediator and High Priest, Jesus Christ (Jn. 16:23; Rom. 1:8; Eph. 5:20; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Heb. 7:25). May we all continue to learn about Jesus and let His “Words of eternal life” guide our lives every day! (Psa. 119:11, 105; Mt. 4:4; Jn. 6:68; Lk. 9:23-25; Php. 2:2-8; 1 Pet. 2:21-24).
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