Page 9 - June 2022 - Truth & Tidings
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In this series, we will be looking at seven   a calm, so that the waves thereof are still”
        metaphorical “I AM” statements of the   (v29 KJV).
        Lord Jesus in John’s Gospel. We’ll search   The use of the phrase authoritatively in
        out the theological significance and practi-  response to those who sought to take Him
        cal applications of the phrases:      in the garden (18:5) caused all of them to
          • I AM the bread of life (6:35)     fall to the ground in obeisance, initiating
          • I AM the light of the world (8:12)  echoes of Isaiah 45:23.
          • I AM the door (10:9)                And then there is John 8:58. In conver-
          • I AM the good shepherd (10:11)    sation with certain Jews, the Lord tried
          • I AM the resurrection and the life  to show them their bondage. Proclaiming
            (11:25)                           freedom through truth and the Son only
          • I AM the way, the truth and the life  produced confusion because they saw
                                              themselves as a generation that had never
            (14:6)                            been in bondage. The Lord cut through
          • I AM the true vine (15:1)         their charade with the powerfully succinct
          At the outset, we should address some   phrase, “Whosoever committeth sin is the
        other “I AM” statements in John’s Gospel   servant of sin” (8:34). They had become
        that are not metaphorical. While we do   content in their slavery and couldn’t see
        concede that “the expression bears no   that God’s promised Deliverer was before
        necessary theological baggage,”  there   their very eyes! As the argument intensi-
                                     2
        are times when the Lord Jesus utters this   fied, they tried to justify themselves as
        phrase in which it clearly carries overtones   descendants of Abraham, attacking the
        of the burning bush.                  Lord’s claims and character until He ut-
          Upon the Samaritan woman’s confes-  tered the mouth-stopping phrase, which
        sion that she knew the Messiah was com-  would literally read, “Before Abraham
        ing, and to cut through the confusion in   sprang into existence, I AM.” The gram-
        her mind surrounding the “living water,”   mar is not a mistake, and the meaning
        the Lord carefully chose the words “I   would not be mistaken. The Man in their
        AM is speaking to you” (4:26). Thus, she   midst had just intentionally invoked the
        became confident that the One who gave   Divine Title, laying claim to deity and
        water from the rock in the wilderness   angering them even further. There could
        had now provided her with “that living   be no misunderstanding His claim. The
        water.”                               bondage  was  real,  the  Redeemer  had
          When the disciples were toiling in row-  come, and today He continues to be the I
        ing and full of fear as the Lord approached   AM of Moses’ time.
        them on the stormy sea, He calmed them   Setting our course to touch on these
        with words that surpassed mere encour-  expressions of sacred importance, having
        agement. The literal phrase, “I AM, stop   put our faith in the One who has proven
        being afraid” (6:20), reminded them of   faithful throughout history, our lips are
        the Object of praise in the 107th Psalm of
        whom it is written, “He maketh the storm   moved to sing the simplest of childhood
                                              hymns:
        ² D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John
        (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1991),   The God that lived in Moses’ time is just
        275.                                  the same today.

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