John 6 – I AM

Read John 6

Here we see the first of 7 “I AM” statements from Jesus.  These statements are intimately connected to John’s major theme of Jesus as the Divine Son of God.  Jesus statements here are scandalous, even blasphemous to the Jewish people, an offence that warranted death by Jewish law, but once again connects Jesus to the Father as His statements do in John 5.

The connection to this comes all the way back in Exodus 3.  God reveals Himself to Moses in the burning bush, calling Him to go and challenge Pharoah for the freedom of the people of Israel.  When Moses asks God for His Name,

God said to Moses, I AM who I AM.”  And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”  

This becomes the name by which the Israelites know God, a name so Holy that to even say it was a desecration of the Name.  They even came up with a number of substitutes like “Adonai” and “Jehovah” to refer to God without taking God’s name in vain.

God’s name would have been recorded in Hebrew, but as the centuries passed and languages changed and evolved, the Old Testament was translated into Greek, a text known as the Septuagint.  At this time, the Hebrew name of God was translated to the Greek: “ἐγώ εἰμι,” (pronounced“egō eh – mi”).  Literally this means “I I am” or more appropriately, (I AM that I AM).

So when Jesus makes the statement “I AM the Bread of Life,” or any of the other “I AM” statements, this Greek phrase, that would have been recognised by the Jews especially, is present.  This statement, then, is a two-fold claim:

  1. God (I AM) is the only one who sustains and nourishes.
  2. Jesus is saying “I AM God.”