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Naming God: The 7 I Am Statements of Yahweh Explained

Naming God: The 7 I Am Statements of Yahweh Explained

Posted by Samantha DePeel

April 24, 2023

Who is Jesus to you? What is His character? What is He like? We all have an image of Him in our heads, trying to piece together parts of His personhood to know Him better and trust Him wholeheartedly. 
Arguably, what you think about God is the most important thing about you.  
Since we are His workmanship, crafted in His own image and likeness (Ephesians 2:10), our sole purpose in life is to worship Him and be vessels for His love and glory. It is imperative that we seek to know our Creator better. That's why we're diving into the 7 "I Am" statements of Jesus in the Gospel of John. Through today's blog post, we'll be unpacking critical pieces of our God's character and learning more about the One we serve.

Two friends embracing in a tulip field I Am the Bread of Life

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." ~ John 6:35 
As you may know, the Gospel of John was written to reveal the deity of Christ, urging listeners to believe in Jesus. Everything in this book highlights Jesus' authority as God's Son. The book centers around 7 miracles that prove Jesus' divinity, showcasing His signs and wonders to the watching crowds of the ancient world.

In this first "I Am" statement, as seen in John 6:35, Jesus tells His listeners that He is the bread of life. Keep in mind, this is just shortly after He miraculously fed the five thousand. Here, Jesus says, "Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set His seal." (John 6:27).  
Jesus goes on to hearken back to Moses in the Old Testament, saying, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven." Since the Jews of the day followed the Pentateuch closely, they would have recognized Moses as an authoritative, trustworthy figure. 

What can we learn about Jesus through this "I Am" statement? He is fulfilling. Just as we hunger for food, we should hunger for Christ. Nothing will satisfy our longings more. When we find ourselves lost and alone, we should turn our gaze from this material world to our true home in heaven. 
Three women sitting in a field, praying

I Am the Light of the World

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." ~ John 8:12

Jesus always knew what to say at the right moment. Here at the temple, we see Jesus setting the record straight and giving an account to those who opposed Him. During the Feast of the Tabernacles, which was occurring at this time, light was an important symbol, so Jesus was wise to use it as a metaphor for this crowd. 

Also, we know from this declaration that Jesus provides the guidance we need to navigate through this very dark, challenging world. His truth illuminates everything (yes, everything) even our own sinfulness! This light can be piercing and painful, but it's so necessary for our growth. It's also beautiful and comforting. We do not have to walk alone in the darkness. We have Jesus to guide us.  
Three women sitting in a tulip field

I Am the Door of the Sheep

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture." ~ John 10:9

We know that Jesus is our shepherd—our leader ushering the way to rest and eternal life. In this passage, we see Jesus is yet again revealing a piece of Himself to us. He is the way to the Father. The only way.  
Just like sheep entering into a peaceful pasture through a narrow gate, so too are we entering into a blessed, protected space by Jesus' love and power. This is such a comforting metaphor for me. 
Jesus goes on to say in verse 10, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” There will be plenty of things in our lives that promise satisfaction and rest. Through some trial and error, we realize that they are in fact not the thing our souls have been longing for. This verse serves as a powerful reminder that Jesus is the only way. He is our protector, always

I Am the Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep." ~ John 10:11

Yet again, we have Jesus reminding us of His deep sacrificial love. A good shepherd puts his own life on the line for his flock, often putting himself in harm's way to confront the threat himself. Just think back to Psalm 23:1-6:  

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake." 

We can trust Jesus to protect us, as He always has our best interests in mind. He will lead us to that safe haven where we don't have to worry about the dark things of this world. In Jesus, we have full and complete rest. People will often fail us, but Jesus never will. Isn't that an incredible thing, LiF sister? Glory be to God! 

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

"Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die." ~ John 11:25-26 

Do you ever lay awake at night, plagued by the anxieties of your own mortality? Life can seem so fleeting, a mere puff of air that's here today and gone tomorrow. When I'm feeling low, I often think of Ecclesiastes 1:2-4...
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever." 

Without the promise of Christthis passage is entirely true. Jesus is our everything, the reason for life itself. We live short lives, encounter incredible hardships punctuated by brief seasons of joy, and then we're gone. But with Jesus...everything changes. 
In order for us to fully comprehend this "I Am" statement, it's important to note the context in which Jesus is saying this. Jesus has just found Lazarus, His beloved follower and family friend, had died. This was crushing to Jesus. In the midst of His grief, He reminds Mary and Martha that He is the resurrection and the life. No one who puts their faith in Him ever truly dies.  
Of course, we know from the story that Jesus would go on to raise Lazarus from the dead, proving His divinity yet again. There is nothing He cannot do. 

I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." ~ John 14:6

Make no mistake, the only way to true, everlasting life is through Jesus. It's not through any self-help craze, pop culture icon, or anything else this world can offer. Jesus alone is the way to heaven, and everything else worth living for, too. 
This world can be downright confusing, with so many people telling you different things that will bring you happiness. If only you do this or that, then you'll surely be fulfilled. This verse simplifies all of that noise, affirming that in fact, there is only one God and our faith in Him is the most important thing in our lives, the most noblest of causes. 

Woman holding a bundle of tulips

I Am the True Vine

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:1-2

Just as a vine provides sustenance to its fruit, so too is Jesus our only source of strength. Jesus loved to speak in allegory, so it should come as no surprise to us that He comes to us yet again with this beautiful metaphor. When we cut ourselves off from Jesus, we lose our purpose in life, our very energy. He is the vine, we are the branches. Our greatest call is to abide in Him for all of our days, with every bit of strength we can muster.  
Also, it's important to note the theme of dependency here. What is a piece of fruit without its vine or branch? Utterly useless, vulnerable, weak. We are confined to death and its harsh reality...but with Jesus? We are positively limitless. Sometimes the first step in growth is admitting your weakness, crying out to God, and admitting your need for Him. Your dependency on God is a beautiful, beautiful thing, and very necessary for your salvation, too!  

Key Takeaways

  • Jesus is the only way to true, fulfilling, everlasting life. 
  • He is our comforter and closest protector—a shepherd leading His wayward flock through a dark valley.
  • His level of commitment to us is unmatched. You can always count on Jesus.

 Grace Upon Grace

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