Jesus Christ identified Himself as the “I AM” on seven occasions in the Gospel of John. However, He also used various word pictures to identify His work among men. He used one of such word picture on one occasion to illustrate the purpose of His coming to the world. Jesus had been challenged by Jewish people to show a sign and what He was preaching so that they could find a reason to believe Him. In fact, they specified the sign they sought to be fed. Though they did not say so, they viewed religion primarily as something to benefit them. Just like it is with many today, they asked, ‘what is in this for us?’
“I AM the Bread of Life”
This statement was said to the Jewish when they found Jesus on the other side of the sea and asked Him when He came in. Jesus’ response was that they are seeking Him, not because they saw the signs, but for they had eaten the fill of the loaves. He explained to them further that they need not to labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to them. Because on Him God, the Father has set His seal! The Jewish wanted to know what they should do to show that they are doing God`s work. But Jesus told them to believe in the one who was sent. They went ahead and requested for a sign to make them believe that He was truly the one sent from above. Jesus perplexed them with His response, which identified Him as the Bread of God and that all that feed on Him will never hunger. This exchange occurred the day after Jesus had fed a multitude consisting of about five thousand men, women and children making the number to exceed fifteen thousand people. This impressed the crowd so much that they thought of making Jesus the king. But He left immediately He noticed their intention and went up into the mountain by Himself. The disciples decided to find where He might be and they found Him on the other side of the sea and began to confront Him.
Jesus would have none of the suggestions that these food-seekers were interested in Him because of who He is; He cut to the heart of what they were really seeking. Earlier, on the other side of the sea, they had witnessed the signs that He performed, like healing the sick, feeding thousands, but they were not interested in who He might be, only in what He might give them. Through these verses, IAM the bread of life is used to describe the preexistent life back before the times of Abraham for example when Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to yiu, before Abraham was born, I AM”.
“IAM the Light of the world”
This statement was made by Jesus in various occasions and the first event occurred when Jesus was in the temple during the Feast of Tabernacls when a group of scribes and Pharisee brought a woman to Him. The woman was found committing adultery and therefore they brought her to Jesus seeking justice to be done to her. Instead, Jesus knelt down and made some writing in the sand and asked those men, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone to the woman.”On hearing this, one by one, the men dropped their stones and ran away. So Jesus looked up at the woman and asked her where the men who had accused had gone, and later He to told her to go and sin no more because He could not condemn her.
It is well known that this was one of those tricks the Pharisees and the scribes had formed to trap Jesus, but according to the scriptures, not even early in the morning can you get Jesus offguard.Therefore, Jesus returned to the temple the following day to continue with His teachings and hence made this statement, I am the Light of Life. Jesus was at the feast of Tabernacle, celebrating the events of the exodus early in the morning. It is not really known why Jesus had to recall that event, which occurred in the past, may be it was the rise of the sun which reminded Him of the event that occurred earlier or the darkness of the exchange between the woman and the Pharisees. But as the celebrations of the great exodus from Egypt where Israelites were led day and night by a cloud and pillar of fire, Jesus said, whoever follows me will not walk in the darkness .The scripture emphasizes that the Lord was; leading, lighting the way for God`s people just as he had done to his children showing that He is the Light, was the Light, and will forever remain to be the light of the world.
The statement “Iam the Light of the world” relates to God as revealed in the Old Testament in that the glory of the presence of God in the cloud guided the Israelites from Egypt up to the Promised Land and protected them from their enemies. Therefore the Israelites were instructed to sing, “The Lord is my Light and Salvation, indicating that the word of God and His laws is the Light to guide the path of those people who cherish and follow His instructions. Light means Yahweh in action.
The statement reveals the deity of Christ in that Jesus` declaration of being not only the Light of the Jews, but the Light of the whole world was so powerful that it came out with stunning force. His deity is revealed also when He claims further that whoever rejects Him is in the dark, but those who accept Him in their lives are living in His Light. This leaves us with the feeling that the Only Light is Jesus Christ and that people need to respond to His coming by accepting Him warm heartedly and receiving Him.Therefore, the fact that Jesus Christ is the Light of the entire world and that people`s eternal life depend on their response to Him demonstrates to us thatt there is something very unique and important about Him.
“I am the Good Shepherd”
This statement was made when Jesus healed a man born blind, which led him to be accused and rejected by the chief priests and the Pharisees from the covenant community by the old covenant authorities. Jesus searched for this man and brought him out to faith in Him as the Messiah and then ended up accusing the Pharisees and the scribes as the ones who are blind. The Pharisees were annoyed when they heard that Jesus had accused them of being blind. But Jesus responded by telling them that if they were blind, they would not be guilty but because they say they can see, their guilty remains. For example, He says that, any one who does not join the sheepfold through the gate, but climbs in some other manner, is termed as a thief and a bandit. The person who enters through the gate is the good shepherd of the flock, because he is let in by the gatekeeper, the sheep hears his voice, and one by one he calls his own sheep and guides them out. After leading them out, he goes ahead of them and the flock follows because they recognize the voice and they will never follow a stranger, but instead will run away because they do not recognize the voice of strangers. This was a parable Jesus told to the Pharisees and the scribes but they failed to understand the meaning behind it.
The statement relates to God as revealed in the old testament because Jesus` ministry is only to the Jews and the Israelites of the Galilee at this time, and He is leading those who know Him as the Messiah to follow Him out of the old covenant and into the New.Therefore, this is fulfilling the prophecy of God`s holy prophet Micah, when he said, “I shall assemble the whole of Jacob, gather the remnant of Israel, and bring them together like sheep in an enclosure. Then like flock within the fold, they will bleat far away from anyone, their leader will break out first then all break out through the gate and escape, with their king leading the way and with God at their head.
Jesus Christ`s deity is revealed when He emphasizes that He is the door to the sheepfold and its only by Him that any man enters in and be saved, and he shall go in and out and find pasture. He explains further that He is the good shepherd who knows His flock and the sheep know Him too. Jesus was telling this to the unbelieving Jews that because He is well known to His sheep, they recognize His voice, and thus He will give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. Therefore, this statement is an encouragement to all people to listen and follow Jesus Christ who is the Son of God and His salvation because there is no alternative to enter the Kingdom of God. In other words, believing without the knowledge and belief in Jesus the Son of the most High God may not be enough.