When we look at the life of Jesus, it is hard not to notice his claims. The Pharisee mocked him when he called himself “light of the world.” His followers left him when he called himself “bread of life.” Crowds denounced him when he talked about himself as the “Good Shepherd.” And when he said, “I am the resurrection and the life” – it cost him his life.
When Jews heard those two verbs I am – I am (as translated from the Hebrew), they knew exactly what Jesus meant. It was something more than a metaphor – He was claiming deity. We understand from Exodus 3:14 that this is the same title God the father gave himself.
These claims are so powerful and bold that they arrest your attention and cause you to think.
I am the Bread of Life
John 6:35: Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never hunger, whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
- Manna, the bread that comes from above – fill with the necessary nutrients to sustain life
- Bread of Life – center of everyday life in ancient Israel
In essence, Jesus is claiming that everything else one can try to find sustenance and satisfaction will leave him empty and wanting. Bread in those days was the center of their lives. They had to have it for their sustenance. Jesus said, I am the only one who can fully satisfy and sustain you.
I Am the Light of the World
John 8:12: 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.”
- Psalm 27:1 – the Lord is the Light of my salvation
- Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path
- Isaiah 9 – the people walking in darkness have seen a light
The Jewish people understood this phrase very well. They understood that when Israel traveled at night, God was with them in a pillar of fire. They understood that God’s word is lamp unto their feet, light unto their path. That Messiah, when he comes will shine in dark places.
I am the Door
John 10:9: I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
- a shepherd leads his sheep out into the fields to look for food and water
- a shepherd will build a makeshift pen for the sheep on a hill
- the shepherd, in this instance, does not build a gate or door to the pen
- but he lays down at door or gate of this makeshift pen
- no sheep could enter without he permission
It is in light of this that Jesus speaks. I am the gate. No one can go to the father but by me. No one can go to heaven except through me. No one can enter into eternal life except through me. This shepherd is the only one who grants permission to enter.
I am the Good Shepherd
John 10:11: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
- Psalm 23 – the Lord is my Shepherd – he provides everything I need
- Ezekiel 34 – false shepherds only take care of themselves – not God
There is one phrase that I repeat all the time. “God is good – all the time – God is good!” This is not just a cute phrase. It is a theologically profound phrase. The bible says in Psalm 119 that “God is good and everything he does is good.” It is time to shift your perception about him. He is good all the time.
I am the Resurrection and the Life
John 11:25: am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.
- fear of death, and the basic dilemma of death, is a constant pain in man’s heart
- For a long time, death has ruled over men like a tyrant
- until Jesus showed up at Lazarus’ tomb and walked out of his tomb three days after his death
This changes everything. Think about the boldness of this claim. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. This is cause to look at Jesus closer. I don’t know of anyone else in human history, who has made such a claim. Do you believe this? I do. I believe that He is the resurrection and the life.
I am the Way the Truth and the Life
John 14:6: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
- the way that leads so the Father
- the Truth that teaches the knowledge of God, and directs in the way
- the Life that animates all those who seek and serve him
I am sure you have heard, “All roads lead to God if we are sincere in seeking Him,” but how true is that? Not true at all. People want to know what gives Christians the courage to make such claims. Well, they are Jesus’ claims. We believe him because of his extraordinary life. Never has there been any other like Him. His enemies as well as friends recognized his perfect life. Believers and unbelievers alike are unanimous in the verdict they pass on the life of Jesus. ‘Truly this was a righteous Man.’
I am the Vine
John 15:1-8: 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.
- The vine is a “spreading plant, and Christ will be known as salvation to the ends of the earth”
- He is the true vine, as truth is opposed to pretense and counterfeit
- Psalm 104:15 – says that anyone attached to the vine will find “wine which makes man’s heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man’s heart.”
The Source of all spiritual life and fruitfulness is in the Jesus. The source of everything good and just and holy is in Him. In Him we live and move and have our being. He is a life-giving source. A fount of every blessing and a constant stream never-ceasing.
Jesus is either God, and we should follow him, or a liar that cannot be trusted. Nobody wants to follow a liar. You will agree, even if you are not a Christian, that Jesus is no liar – he was a holy man. The purpose of John’s Gospel is that we will understand that Jesus is God. Jesus was not just a great man or a great prophet. Jesus is God. This is important because our salvation depends on that very fact.