There are seven statements in the book of John in which Jesus says, “I am” something. In this essay I will look at the list of the seven statements and I will begin with Jesus saying “I am the light of the world”. Throughout this essay, I plan to cover each of these sayings of Jesus separately and I will attempt to give a brief discussion on each of them. Each proclamation reveals the different facets of Jesus and gives a different sense of understanding, but, overall, all sum up the revelation of who Jesus is. Further I will look at why these statements are significant to our salvation. These statements are as follows: “I am the good shepherd”, “I am the resurrection and the life”, “I am the true vine” “I am the way, the truth and the life” “I am the bread of life” and, lastly, “I am the door”.
I am Light of the world. John 8:12.
John 8:12 proclaims the words of Jesus saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” There are many who follow false light that eventually leads to devastation; but the truth is found only in Christ. Eternal salvation should be our ultimate goal in life and Jesus is the only light that leads to a life of fulfillment. There was a strong opposition that came from the Pharisees against the claims of Jesus, they did not believe in His proclamation as the light of the world. They took him as one of those bubblers who did not know what He was saying.
The word light here is used as a metaphor and it is repeatedly quoted throughout the Bible. The representation here is of Jesus being the truth. In other words if the Pharisees reject Him, then they are actually rejecting the truth, and because they reject the truth, then they walk in darkness. Therefore, they do not know who they are and were they are going as they are in darkness without Jesus. Just like the story of the adulteress woman, she lived in sin for many years and one day she was caught red handed in the very act. Then the Scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus and said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, and according to the Law of Moses, such deserve to be stoned to death. So the Scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus and said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, now Moses in the Law commanded us that such should be stoned, but what do you say? Jesus stooped down then later answered them saying if there is any among you without sin, let them be the first to throw a stone at her. Realizing their own wrongs, they began to leave one by one until they were all gone and the woman was left alone. Then Jesus said to the woman, “has any one condemned you?” she replied by saying, “no one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
In this story we see that Jesus is the light of the world and indeed He is the truth. The accusers of the woman were convicted because the light was shown in their hearts and they saw their own sinfulness. Therefore the world is lost without Jesus. Darkness controls us and unless the light of Jesus shines upon us, we can see the truth. But while we have the light, we must believe in the light, that we may become children of the light” (John 12:36). The light here signifies Jesus and that without Jesus in us and leading us, we walk in darkness and are lost.
I am the good shepherd. John 10:11
Jesus said “I am the Good Shepherd”. Those who come before me are robbers and thieves and my sheep do not hear them. The shepherd who takes care of his flock and gives his life for the sheep is the good shepherd and not a hireling. The sheep hear his voice and he calls them by name and they follow him. And Jesus claimed Himself to be the good shepherd. The Jews actually thought He has a demon and is mad. This did not stop Jesus continuing His proclamation as the good shepherd. Sheep without a shepherd will be scattered and lost. For they know the voice of the and when he calls they hear him. The voice of a stranger, they do not hear.
When its night time and the sheep are in, the shepherd guards the doorway. If a hireling tries to enter, the shepherd would defend his sheep by fighting back, to the extent of willing to lay down his own life for the sake of the sheep. The fact that there is only one door to the sheepfold, the enemy cannot enter the sheepfold except through him. This is the sacrificial duty of every good shepherd, who is willing to lay down his life for the sake of the sheep. Jesus is our great shepherd; there will never be anyone like Him, willing to lay down His life for our protection. The shepherd had the right to lay down his life to purchase His flock. Jesus is the best of shepherds, none so skillful, so faithful, and so tender, as He.
I am the resurrection and the life. John 11:25
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). This is a proclamation that should settle our fear of death once and for all. Jesus declared Himself as the very essence of existence. In other words He is existence Himself and that apart from Him none can exist in this age and the age to come. Simply put, everything culminates in Him and everything holds together in Him. Jesus indicates that if He would let go of His hold on us, we would be nonexistent instantly. This deeply reveals our desperate need of Him because He holds us together.
This is beautifully illustrated in the death of Lazarus. When Jesus was told about Lazarus’ death, He did not panic as we would definitely. He was inexplicably calm such that He went about doing what He was doing even after hearing such heart breaking news. For He said to the disciples, “Lazarus is sleeping but I go to wake Him up”, they said if he is sleeping, then he will get well. Jesus knowing that they did not understand, He emphatically told them that Lazarus is dead. He then said that this is for the glory of God and that the Son of Man may be glorified in this.
Later when Jesus met Martha, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Martha cried to Jesus after he finally came, that if had come early, and his brother would not have died. In contrast, Jesus said to her, “your brother will live again.” But Martha did not understand what Jesus was saying. Jesus said to them that if they would believe, then they would see the glory of God. In this story, Jesus demonstrated His resurrection power, showing that there was nothing He could not do. Jesus is the power of our salvation, He brings new life to the dead spiritually. By the mercies of God, how can the world ignore a person like this?
I am the true vine. John 15: 1-6
Jesus declared that He is the true vine and His Father is the gardener. That He is the vine and we are the branches, therefore when we remain in Him and Him in us, then we bear much fruit. The branch that does not produce fruit, He takes away but the branch that bears fruit, He prunes so that it can produce more fruit. Like a tree and its branches, it is virtually impossible for the branches to be cut and expect them to live. The food of the branches flows through the trunk of the tree from the roots. Therefore if the branches are cut off, then there much needed nourishment is cut off as well and the branches wither and die. In the same respect, Jesus is our vine and we are His branches, we feed from Him, our lives are healthy because of Him. If we are cut off, like the branches of a tree, we wither and die.
Jesus said that when we abide in the word and the word abides in us, anything is possible when we ask. Therefore we need the word of God in us and if the word dwells in us and we embrace it wholeheartedly, then and only then are we able to be productive to the glory of God. The scriptures say, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. The scriptures also say that when the word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. The faith by which we received the word of Jesus purifies our hearts. The word refines us from the dross of the world and the flesh because it is a cleaning virtue.
I am the way, the truth and the life. John 14:6.
In this verse Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except through him, no one knows the Father except through him and no one lives the life of the Father except through him. In this passage of scripture, Jesus emphatically says that no one goes to the Father nor sees the Father except through me. One day Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way.” And Jesus answered saying, You know me and you know my father also and from today you know Him and have seen Him. By this saying He meant if we see Him then we have seen the Father for the Father and the Son are one.
What is truth? And what is a lie? Jesus called the devil a liar and the Father of lies. And that he speaks lies from his resources and that he is a liar from the beginning. Jesus is often quoted as saying, “I tell you the truth” He always told the truth because He is truth and He is true in every way. Grace and truth came with Jesus for it is said that, “we have seen his glory, the glory of the Son of God, full of truth and grace (John 1:14)
I am the Bread of Life. John 6:35
Jesus said, “I am the Bread of life.” He said that you go to buy bread that does not last, for after you eat it, you hunger again for more bread. Come and eat my bread and you will not hunger again and it is free. He also said to the Samaritan woman, come and drink my water and you will never thirst again. Not understanding what He meant, she said the well is deep, how can you give me water when you do not have something to draw water with. Jesus corrects her by saying, “I am your well, and when you come and drink of me, you will never thirst again. The water from Jesus will become a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.
Like the Samaritan woman, Jesus was on several occasions misunderstood by people, for instance, He tells His followers that if they eat His meat, then they have eaten meat indeed and if they drink His blood, they have drunk drink indeed. His followers were so confused about what He meant such that they decided to walk away and thought amongst themselves that, “He must be mad, how can we eat of His flesh and drink His blood?” Most of the disciples turned and walked away from Jesus. However, how many times do we misunderstand Him today? We sometimes think we know, yet we do not.
Jesus also fed the five thousand people that followed Him. He took a boy’s lunch, only five small loaves of bread and two small fish. He had the crowd sit down and He took the bread and fish; He gave thanks for the food, and then gave it out to the people. By a miracle hand of God, He multiplied the food such that there was more than enough for over 5000 people.
During the night, Jesus walks on the water, gets into the boat and arrives at Capernaum. The next day, the people realize that Jesus is not there but do not understand how he left. They get into boats and travel to Capernaum and find Jesus there. They ask him, “When did you come here?” Jesus replies to them that the reason they are seeking him is because they want more food. The people asked how they can do that and Jesus tells them that they must believe in the one that God has sent. In other words, Jesus wanted them not only to follow Him for physical food that does not last but for food that is everlasting. And that is only accomplished by believing that Jesus Christ was sent from God and that He is the true bread of life and those who partake of Him will never hunger again.
I am the door John 10:1-10
Jesus said, “I am the door, if anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and he will go in and out and find pasture. Jesus said this to emphasis a point about who He is. During the time of Jesus, animals were kept in sheep folds and these sheep folds had only one door for animals to go in and out. They would have a wall either built with stones or made from branches and they would be completely closed except for one entrance where the sheep went in and out. Usually the entrance would not have a gate across it but would simply be a gap. But at night when the sheep were in the pen, the shepherd himself would lie across the entrance. So this made shepherd himself to become the gate to the sheep fold. By lying across the entrance the shepherd could keep close watch on the sheep and protect them from any intruder or hireling that may threaten to attack the sheep.
The Pharisees seem to prove his point when Jesus gives them this illustration and once again they just don’t understand what He means. So Jesus makes it plain to them when He tells them in verse seven saying “I am the door of the sheep”. Jesus makes this even clearer in verse nine when He says “If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.” So this is not as complicated as the Pharisees made it out to be. This is what John has been trying to let us know all the way through this gospel. The Jews had long understood that the Messiah would bring salvation. The coming of the Messiah was something they looked forward to.
The conclusion of the matter would therefore seem to say that, Jesus is throughout the gospel of John trying to reveal who He is. Though He is misquoted and misunderstood on several occasions, He still does not give up the sole task of trying to reveal why He is here on earth. The evidence of His arguments and statements prove this point. For He repeatedly says, “I am the light of the world, I am the good shepherd, I am the bread of life and that I am the door. In all these “I am” sayings, Jesus is attempting to drive home the central idea that no one can be saved except through Him. He is not only our way to salvation but He is our salvation. Therefore to reject Him is as good as rejecting the very power of salvation.