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Briefly Examine The Seven I Am Statements Religion Essay

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Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to briefly examine the seven "I AM" statements of Jesus and their significance to the salvation. John is the only gospel that uses the "I AM" statements of Jesus as a framework for representing the gospel. The gospel is an extraordinary unique account in the New Testament. When God spoke to Moses again and again throughout the wilderness "I am YHWH; I am He" (ni YHWH; ni hu) The Septuagint (lXX) translated these words in Greek as, ego eimi and the author of John's gospel aimed at presenting Jesus' identity as that YHWH who chose to reveal His self divine as God in a human form. The primary source for the "I am" statements in John is not found in pagan source or Hellenistic but in the speeches of YHWH in (Exodus 3:6; 3:14; 20:2; Isa. 41:4, 13) and in the self pronouncements of personified Wisdom, demonstrates especially in (Proverbs 8) and (Sirach 24). [1] 

Jesus speaks of Himself in figurative or metaphorical speech where "I am" appears up with a foretell nominative as follows:

John 6:35, 51 "I am the bread of Life" (Living bread)

John 8:12; 9:5 "I am the light of the world"

John 10:7, 9 "I am the gate" (for the sheep)

John 10:11, 14 "I am the good shepherd"

John 11:25 "I am the resurrection and the life"

John 14:6 "I am the way, and the truth, and the life"

John 15:1, 5 "I am the true vine."

"I am the bread of Life" the Living bread (John 6:35, 51)

When Jesus announces "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35) and compare the nourishment He gives with manna in the wilderness John states a number of related passages about God feeding the Israelites (Exodus 16:4, 15, Psalm 78:24, Prov. 9:1, 5) in wisdom tradition of Israel the manna was interpreted as word and instruction so John's Jesus is the spiritual word of God and hence the real food moreover Jesus' bread of life speech invents wisdom's claim that "the one who eats of me will hunger still, the one who drinks of me will thirst for more" (Sir. 24:20) when Jesus proclaims "whoever comes to me will never hunger and whoever believes in me will never thirst" (John 6:35; cf.4:14). [2] 

"I am the light of the world" (John 8:12; 9:5)

When Jesus proclaims "I am the light of the world,"(John 8:12; 9:5) therefore he both reveals his true identity as Wisdom spiritual and invites all who search enlightenment to come to Him, the only true light. Jesus is the son of God and the world are the children of the devil Jesus invites them to come and see who He is therefore their lack of love for God and their ignorance of spiritual things because their sin blinds them from seeing who He really is the Light of the whole world and that the people's eternal destiny depends on their reaction to Him. Jesus affirms to a Jewish crowd "I am the light of the world." John informed us in the prologue (John 1:11) that the incarnate Word was the life and the life was the light of men. Jesus is the only light and that people must respond to the coming of the light by believing in Him apart from that they are lost eternally. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:4-5). The light metaphor elaborates what he had previously said. John states that Jesus made the claim about being "the light of the world. And whosoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). In the subsequent interaction between Jesus and the crowd, the gospel of John makes it clear that part of the Jews, scribes and the Pharisees in particular who did not believe in Jesus were still walking in the darkness. John has Jesus saying to them, "You are from you father the devil and you choose to do your father's desires" (John 8:44). [3] 

"I am the gate for the sheep" (John 10:7, 9)

"I AM the gate for the sheep" (John 10:7). "No one comes to the Father except through me." He confidently states that He is not one of many ways to God but 'the' only way. He disintegrates to the lost sinner who is ignorant and spiritually dead, that in order to come to God the Father and asserts His uniqueness as Him being the only way, the truth and the life. Jesus responded that a life given in belief and faith in Him would pave the way to eternal fellowship with Him. As Jesus' claim to be the way, the truth and life is of great importance that there are not many ways to God but the only way that Jesus embodies and proclaims the truth is a major theme throughout John's Gospel.

A gate like a door serves both to permit access and prevent access it literally marks a boundary either physical or figurative between inside and outside the gate. Jesus is the only entrance in the family of God He uses this parable to express His role as the door or the gate to the kingdom of God. Like shepherds regulate the coming and going of sheep between the sheep pen and the pastures. As the door, Jesus decides whoever enters the family of God. It is He who gives salvation, security and satisfaction to all who come into the family of God through Jesus. The parable about the contrast between a thief or a robber who does not use the door of the sheepfold and shepherd the doorkeeper and the sheep hear the voice of the shepherd and to him the doorkeeper opens; calling the sheep by name, the shepherd leads out them to pasture. Jesus seeking explains His message and enlarges its meaning now claims I am the door by which the sheep of the sheep pen enters. Jesus says "the thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." This is the security we have in Jesus alone as He said "if anyone enters through me, he will be saved and have eternal life.

"I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11, 14)

Shepherd came to mean not only persons who herded sheep but also Kings (2 Sam. 5:2) and God Himself (Psa. 23; Isa. 40:11). Later prophets began to relate to Israel's leaders as shepherds (Jer. 23; Ezek. 34) This parable of the shepherd with the help from ancient Eastern describes the daily normal procedure of the Oriental shepherd it is an enclosure that can only be entered through a door after the sheep have entered the pen or fold for the night a porter stays at the entrance to watch over them, in the morning the shepherd returns and the porter opens for him. The shepherd calls the sheep by their names and they recognize the shepherd's voice, the sheep follow him. If a thief or a robber would have to climb over the fenced wall during the night should he try to enter the sheepfold and the sheep would be confused because of the stranger's voice this imagery and the setting represent the truths of Jesus as the Shepherd. He speaks of the shepherd the one protects, leads, guides and nourishes the sheep. And the sheep is totally dependant on the Shepherd as in (Psa. 23), Jesus spoke of Himself as "the good shepherd" referring to His mission He speaks of laying down His life for the sheep (John10:15, 17, 18). [4] 

"I am the resurrection and the life" (John11:25)

Resurrection is distinguished in John's gospel that depicts resurrection as a spiritual reality and a future eschatological event. The dead will be raised to eternal life Jesus' raising of Lazarus from death to life which marked the beginning of His public ministry. The symbolic of the miracle made clear from the beginning the sickness would not end in death because Jesus will restore physical life His gift of eternal life to those who believe in Him, He will be glorified by this miracle though not so many people will admire it and praise Him but in the sense that it will lead to His death which is a point in His glorification. [5] John explains the significance in verses 51-52 "He did not say this own his own but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation plus the scattered children of God and bring them together and unite them one." One must remember that no body was able to crucify Jesus against His will rather He gave up His life willingly so that we might have life. He also offers life itself, life through God the Father, The creator and giver of all life. Jesus states He is "the life" as the saying "I AM the resurrection and the life." Again we observe Jesus associating very closely with life. "It is He alone whose life is unique, self- existent like the life of the Father (5:16). [6] 

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6)

Jesus is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6) He is the true light (John 1:90) He is life and the source of life to others (John 3:16).who is at the same time the life of humanity (John 1:40) He gives knowledge of truth God (John 17:3) truth stands for the realm of pure and eternal reality this knowledge of the truth is a characteristic Greek conception and that is such knowledge that brings freedom which is also pleasant to Greek the thought. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32) in John there is a close link between life and truth. Jesus stresses in verse one and fifty one any one whoever has faith in me and trusts me will do even much greater works than these.

"I am the true vine" (John15:1, 5)

One of the most enduring metaphors of the Gospel of John is the allegory of "I AM the vine," my Father is the gardener or "vinedresser", we are the branches." Within the context of Jesus' discourse, this metaphor illustrates the interconnectedness between the disciples and him. The vitality of the disciples' lives directly depends upon him. In His elaboration of the metaphor, Jesus reveals its multi-faceted meanings. The dual images of vine and branches along with explicit references to fruit which emphasizes the growth, nourishment and fecundity apart from me you can do nothing. Along with the rest of the discourse of chapters 15-17, Jesus' explication of the vine and branches strives to create a sense of unity and belonging among the disciples and to provide encouragement to the hearers of the Gospel. The metaphor concurrently brings death into view some branches inevitably wither away because they break from the vine; others are forcibly removed. The double aspects of growth and decay fit well with the dualistic tendencies of the Gospel. As anyone who has cultivated a vine knows such plants tend toward entanglement and wilderness. Vines grow haphazardly and without clear define patterns; to make them grow in a particular pattern or to confine them to a limited area it takes great care. Thus comes the necessity of the vine grower, a role that is played by God in (John15). Without such care the branches have little control over the direction of the tendrils of the plant that will grow. Furthermore when a vine has fully grown, the branches are often undistinguishable from the vine itself. The pruning of branches that do not bear fruit represents the cleansing of true believers, the ongoing cleansing after an initial cleansing at conversion, just as did Jesus' washing of the disciples' feet in relation to the disciples' having been bathed already (Jesus 13:10). [7] Jesus identifies Himself as the "true vine" the imagery of the vine/vineyard found everywhere in the Palestine's climate was well suited for growing vineyards the grapevine is used throughout the Old Testament to symbolize the fertility of the land, (Deut. 6:11; Josh. 24:13; 1 Sam. 8:14; 2 Kings 5:26; Jer. 5:17; 40:10; Hos.2:12) which served as a ready image to speak of Israel as God's vineyard (Isa. 1:8; 3:14; 5:1, 3-5, 7, 10; 27:2; Jer. 12:10). Wisdom too declares her identity as one who has taken root among God's people. "I am like a vine putting out fruitful shoots come to me you who hunger me and get filled of my fruits" Jesus calls again the voice of wisdom when he says, "I am the vine you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit" (John 15:5 NIV). John sees Jesus and the Father both at work together when Jesus spoke of Himself as the true vine and the Father as the cultivator where vine is Israel. In a vineyard fruitfulness is not desired, pruning is replaced to encourage productive growth this is a suggestive example of Christian life the fruit of a Christian life is never to live by the flesh or immoral life. The Father is decisive watching over the vine and takes away that is not fruitful like the vinedresser takes control of the vineyard to secure fruitfulness. [8] 

Conclusion

John's Gospel does not speak its contention, but brings the picture of God as He has all power, all wisdom and the life through His beloved son Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and to enhance life. The story begins as Jesus was prior Abraham. He is described as the good shepherd and His followers are the sheep. He is the gate of the sheep only through Him we can enter the kingdom of heaven. John makes clear the people who do not believe walk in darkness for Jesus is the light and His followers walk in the light. Jesus as the miracle worker, John drew on the 'signs' source to construct the major part of his portrayal of Jesus' public ministry then later he blended in with the narratives of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. John submerged the entire narrative with his exalted Christology thus eventually giving the gospel its present basic shape and character, thus bringing Christ to the level of human understanding with the help of the Holy Spirit. God's word suggests He can reveal Himself in numerous ways, but His ultimate revelation to man was through His very own Son, Jesus Christ. God's salvation to the ends of the earth and the transformation of the believers is only available by the work of Holy Spirit and one's important contact with Him therefore we can see that the I AM sayings indicates His deity. In both Jesus is saying that it is important that those addressed come to trust Him as the "I AM" which looks very much like a claim to sharing the nature of deity. In conclusion the "I AM" sayings prove the deity of Jesus the Christ. And that when Jesus expresses these words, He requires presenting the astounding of His divine nature.


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