(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Moses, having been raised in Pharaoh’s palace, fled Egypt after he killed an Egyptian who was mistreating a fellow Hebrew (see Exodus 2:10-15). Now, after 40 years had passed, and he was 80 years old, Moses had a life-changing experience in the Sinai desert! God met him through a burning bush that was not consumed, and directed him to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites out of slavery and into the Promised Land! (See Exodus 3:1-12).
Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?'’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Moreover God said to Mos- es, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord 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 this is My me- morial to all generations.’” (Exodus 3:13-15).
“I AM….This is My name forever…”! So holy is this name to Orthodox Jews, they refuse to write it or even pronounce it! Instead, most use the term ‘HaShem’, which simply means ‘the Name.’ But Jesus used it! And He applied it to Himself ten times in the Gospel of John! Yes, ten! Many say there are seven “I AM” statements in the fourth gospel, but there are three more than seven! Let’s look at them from the Jubilee Bible (the only version I have available that properly translates these passages by capitalizing I AM):
- John 6:35 – “I AM the bread of life; he that comes to Me shall never hunger, and he that believes in Me shall never thirst.”
- John 8:12 – “I AM the light of the world; he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.”
- John 10:9 – “I AM the door; whosoever enters in by Me shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.”
- John 10:11 – “I AM the good shepherd; the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
- John 11:25, 26 – “I AM the resurrection and the life; he that believes in Me, though he is dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
- John 14:6 – “I AM the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes unto the Father, but by Me.”
- John 15:1 – “I AM the true vine, and My Father is the husband-man.”
- John 15:5 – “I AM the vine, ye are the branches: he that abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing.”
The last three, listed out of numerical order, and all from John chapter 8, are perhaps the most profound!
- John 8:24 – “…ye shall die in your sins, for if ye do not believe that I AM, ye shall die in your sins.”
- John 8:28 – “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then ye shall know that I AM and that I do nothing of myself, but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.”
- John 8:58 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.”
There is much to say about the meaning of each I AM statement, but the purpose of these ten is to highlight the fact that Jesus was equating Himself with the Very God of the Old Testament! The Jews recognized this immediately after the Lord declared Himself to be the eternal God in John 8:58: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” For in verse 59 it says, “Then they took up stones to throw at Him….” Another time, shortly after His I AM statement concerning being the good shepherd, the Jews took up stones to kill Him! Jesus had told the Jews in John 10:30: “I and My Father are one.” Here are the next verses, 31 through 33 (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible):
Then again the Jews took up stones, that they might stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from My Father. For which work of them do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “We do not stone You concerning a good work, but concerning blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Your- self God.”
This is also why the Jews, in John 8:59, “…took up stones to throw at Him…”! Jesus was declaring Himself to be God! ‘Blasphemy!’ …to the Jewish leaders (the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the priests, and the scribes). Even the common Jew would be offended! For they were all taught, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4). This Scripture begins their great statement of faith called the ‘Shema,’ the most holy prayer which begins their morning and evening prayer services. So if Jesus was also God, how could God be ‘one’? Since God is ‘one,’ this man has just spoken blasphemy! He is to be stoned!
Christians also recognize there is only one God….in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! And in these ten I AM statements, Jesus is showing Himself to be God, the Very God of the Old Testament, the One who introduced Himself to Moses at the burning bush telling him, “I AM WHO I AM….This is My name forever…”!
The two I AM statements, John 8:24 and 28, are a solemn warning to anyone who is rejecting Christ as their Savior!
- John 8:28 states Jesus’ proof of His deity: “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then ye shall know that I AM….” He was lifted up to die on the cross. But He was lifted up again from the grave when He was resurrected, to live forever! Only God could do that!
- John 8:24 states the actual warning: “…if ye do not believe that I AM, ye shall die in your sins.”
It is important what you believe!
✞ Jesus never sinned (see I Peter 2:22), something
every other person who ever lived could never do!✞
He laid down His life on the cross voluntarily
(see John 10:17, 18), bearing the sins of the
world, including my sins (see I Peter 2:24),
and fully paid the debt we all owe God! (See
Romans 6:23; I John 2:2).
✞ He rose again from the grave three days later,
conquering sin, death, the devil, and hell!
(See Isaiah 25:8; Romans 6:9, 10).
✞ He lives forever (see Hebrews 7:25), seated at
the right hand of the Father in heaven (seeH
brews 12:2), ready and willing to receive all who
come to Him by faith believing! (See John 6:37).
…but only God could do this! And Jesus Christ the Lord is God!