Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Jesus Says - I Am ...

The I Am statements of Jesus.
All of these are found in the Gospel of John.

orange tulips

Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born 563 BC, he died 483 BC at around age 80.  Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was born April 26, 570 AD and died on June 8, 632 AD. Confucius was born in 551 BC and died 479 BC.   They are all dead.  If they, or any other founders of  the world's religious systems and philosophies, were alive they could only say, "I was."  They are dead.  You will not get any help from them today.  They are dust.  Jesus Christ is alive today. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8  Jesus is alive today.  Only Jesus could, and did say, "I am."  He is and always will be.  He is alive.  He is the one and only way for us to receive eternal life for ourselves.

In all of the metaphorical "I am" statements of Jesus, found only in the Gospel of John, the same grammatical structure is used.  There are two grammatical characteristics that these statements share.  There are two different words in Greek that are used for "I am." One of these Greek words for "I am" is " ego".  This word in English is used to mean the "I" or self of any person.  It is also used to mean self-esteem or self-importance.  In psychology, the word ego it is the part of the personality that mediates the demands of the id, the superego and reality. The ego operates on the reality principle, which works to satisfy the id's desires by allowing only what is realistic and socially appropriate to be done. The other Greek word that is used for "I am", is "eime." Emes is a verb meaning "to be" or "I am." The use of either of these Greek verbs in speaking would mean - "I am." In all of the seven "I am" statements of Jesus found in John, Jesus uses both words.  Jesus says "ego eime."  This creates a redundancy by stating, "I am I am."  

The other grammatical characteristic that is used in these statements by Jesus is the different use of the subject and the predicate. In these statements the verb is the subject.  Jesus also refers to Himself, I am, as the subject.  The predicate is the object that Jesus is comparing Himself with.  In the first of the "I am" statements of Jesus states, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.”  John 6:35  That is what we read in our English text.  In a transliteration of the Greek into English,  Jesus actually said, "The bread of life, I am, I am." 

This combination "ego eime" is relatively rare.  It is found twenty three times in the Gospel, but only in John. It is used in the Septuagint. The Septuagint (often abbreviated as LXX) is the name of the Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures.  The Septuagint originated in&nbsp Alexandria, Egypt. It was translated between 300 and 200 BC.  It was believed to be translated by 70 Jewish scholars, hence the name Septuagint which means seventy in Latin.  The Septuagint was a source of the Old Testament for early Christians during the first few centuries AD. Many early Christians spoke and read Greek, thus they relied on the Septuagint translation for most of their understanding of the Old Testament.  A majority of Old Testament quotes that are cited in the New Testament are quoted directly from the Septuagint.

In a recent blog we discussed Exodus 6:30.  Moses asks God, "Who shall I say sent me?" God answers, "I AM who I AM."  This Old Testament verse is translated "ego eime" in the Septuagint.   In these "I AM" Jesus is telling His listeners that He is sent by His Father, from Heaven.  Jesus is equating Himself with God.  He is announcing that He is the Messiah.  Jesus is The I Am.  He is eternal.  He is alive today.  Jesus is the only religious leader that can say "I AM."

Jesus Christ is alive - He is the I AM.

We will be looking briefly at the seven "I am" statements of Jesus over the next several days.

1.  Bread  “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.” John 6:35

2.  Light “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

3.  Gate “I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” John 10:9

4.  Good Shepherd “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.” John 10:11

5.  Resurrection and Life “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” John 11:25

6.  Way, Truth, Life “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” John 14:6

7.  True vine  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1


The Greek ego eimi,  I AM is found in these 23 places in John:

John 4:26  John 6:20, John 6:35,  John 6:41, John 6:48,  John 6:51  John 8:12  John 8:18  John 8:24  John 8:28  John 8:58  John 10:7  John 10:9  John 10:11  John 10:14  John 11:25  John 13:19  John 14:6  John 15:1  John 15:5  John 18:5  John 18:6  John 18:8

Twenty-three times in all we find our Lord’s meaningful “I AM” ( Gr.) in the Greek text of this gospel (4:26; 6:20,35,41,48,51; 8:12,18,24,28,58; 10:7,9,11,14; 11:25; 13:19; 14:6; 15:1,5; 18:5,6,8).  In several of these, He joins His “I AM” with seven tremendous metaphors which are expressive of His saving relationship toward the world.

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