Gospel of John
7 “I am”, 7 Signs and 7 Witnesses
The Great 7 x “I am” are unique in John’s Gospel. Jesus said to them, truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am (John 8:58). Through this statement, declares his divine & eternal self-existence. The phrase I am, reflects distinctive personal name of Israel’s God, Yahweh, the I am of Exodus which can be found in (Ex 3:14) – “And God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM”. Thus Jesus showed unmistakable claim of himself to Israel as the Son of God. Below is a list of “I AM”, declares His divinity:
• I am the bread of life (6:35) – it was mentioned that after Jesus had fed the 5 thousand and the people wanted more food. As bread sustains physical life, so Christ offers and sustains spiritual life.
• I am the light of the world (8:12) – to a world stumbling about in the darkness of sin, Jesus came to reveal God & himself to the world. He offers himself as a constant guide to the belivers.
• I am the door for the sheep (10:7) – during a discourse with Israel’s religious leaders in which Jesus in essence declared them to be unfit shepherds of the nation. The responsibility of shepherds are to guide their flocks into stone enclosures each night to protect them. These shepherd would sit or lie in the opening to prevent predators from attacking the flock. Thus Jesus was describing His very dear care and constant devotion to those who are His.
• I am the good shepherd (10:11,14) – unlike hirelings (refer to someone who looks after sheep for employment) who might run away and leave the flock unprotected, Jesus is committed to caring for and keeping watch over His people.
• I am the resurrection and the life (11:25) – this was seen when Lazarus had died. Jesus is the Lord of all life and possesses the power to raise the dead. Death is not the final word, for all who are in Christ will live forever.
• I am the way, and the truth , and the life (14:6) – this was mentioned when the disciples were confused about Jesus’ statements about heaven. Jesus is the one and only way to the Father. I am the source of all truth and the source for all knowledge about God. He offers to spiritually dead people the very life of God.
• I am the true vine (15:1) – in the Upper Room discourse on the night of Jesus arrest. The OT contains many references to Israel God’s vine (Ps 80:8, Isaiah 5:1-7, Ezekiel 15, Hosea 10:1). But because of the nation’s unfruitfulness, Jesus came to fulfill God’s plan by attaching ourselves to Christ, we enable his life to flow in and out through us. Then we cannot help but bear fruit that will honour the Father. In this metaphor, I am the Gardener.
John hard picks incidents to demonstrate that Jesus is unlike any man who has ever lived: that I am a Son of God. Thus, John treats the miracles differently. Although Mathew, Mark & Luke all record miracles, John goes one step further and called them signs. As sign points to something, supernatural acts are one more proof of Jesus unique nature. John selected miracles & also elaborated discourses, while other authors had not used in order to promote belief in Jesus as a Son of God.
These are the 7 signs:
• Turning water into wine at Cana (2:1-11) – ritual law replaced by Grace.
• Healing an official’s son in Capernaum (4:46-51) – Gospel brings spiritual restoration.
• Healing an invalid at the Pool of Bethesda (or Bethsaida ) in Jerusalem (5:1-9) – shows that weakness was restored by strength by Christ.
• Feeding the 5000 near the Sea of Galilee (6:5-13) – Christ satisfied spiritual hunger.
• Walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee (6:16-21) – Lord transformed fear to faith.
• Healing a blind man in Jerusalem (9:1-7) – sight to man who was born blind.
• Raising Lazarus in Bethany (11:1-44) – Jesus overcome darkness & bring light . Gospel bring people from death to life.
The 7 witnesses of Jesus’s Deity are:
- John the Baptist: “This is the Son of God” (1:34)
- Nathaniel: “You are the Son of God” (1:49)
- Peter: “You are the Holy One of God!” (6:69)
- Martha: “You are the Christ, the Son of God” (11:27)
- Thomas: “My Lord and my God!” (20:28)
- John: “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (20:31)
- Jesus: “I am the Son of God” (10:36; 4:26; 8:58)