This essay is part of a 10-part series on the person of Christ—a look at Jesus’ “I AM” statements in the book of John—as part of the 2016 Lent study.
Who is Jesus Christ? God’s whole redemptive plan—along with our understanding of Easter’s significance—rests on the person of Christ.
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, people answered this question in a variety of ways. Some said He was demon-possessed (John 10:20). Some thought He was a narcissist with delusions of grandeur (John 6:42). Others thought He was the prophet Elijah come back from his celestial chariot ride (Matthew 16:14.)
When Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was, Peter spoke up and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
We all need to answer this question. Who do we say Jesus is?
C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, said we really only have three options: Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. He either intentionally made claims about Himself He knew were false, He was delusional, or He really was the Christ.
The Gospel writers answer this question. They present Jesus as a man who is very human. He experiences human feelings like hunger (Mark 11:12), grief (John 11:35), anxiety (Mark 14:34), and the need for solitude (Luke 5:16).
The humanity of Jesus, after all, is what qualifies Him to be a suitable substitute for us.
But the Gospel writers also present Jesus as fully divine. John includes eight “I Am” sayings from Jesus: occasions where Jesus uses the divine name God revealed to Moses at the burning bush to describe Himself (Exodus 3). Who is this divine Word made flesh who dwells among us (John 1:14)? John lets Jesus answer for Himself.
The “I Am” sayings focus specifically on Jesus’ relationship to this world as our Savior.
He is the Bread of Life who satisfies our nagging hunger for contentment (John 6:22-59). He is the Light of the World who frees us from walking in darkness (John 8:12-20). He is the Good Shepherd who keeps us from getting lost (John 10:11-31), and He is the Door through which God’s sheep enter into the safety of His refuge (John 10:1-10). He is the Resurrection and the Life so that, even though we die, yet shall we live (John 11:25). He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life so that we might, through Him, have access to God (John 14:6). He is the True Vine so that, when we are grafted into Him, His life flows continually to us as God Himself prunes and trains us to bear fruit (John 15:1). And He is eternal in His authority—at work in a Covenant of redemption that predates Abraham (John 8:31-59).
In this section of our study during Lent, we will unpack these “I Am” sayings from Jesus and consider together who He claimed to be as He made His way to the Cross for our salvation.
Who do you say Jesus is?
Written By Russ Ramsey