Studies in the Gospel of John- I AM
I. Jesus’ True Identity
A. Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Therefore the Pharisees said to Him, You bear record concerning yourself; your witness is not true. Jesus answered and said to them, Though I bear record concerning Myself, My witness is true. For I know from where I came, and where I go. But you do not know from where I came, and where I go. You judge after the flesh, I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I and the Father who sent Me. It is also written in your Law that the testimony of two men is true. I am one who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness concerning Me. Then they said to Him, Where is your father? Jesus said to them, You neither know Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. Jesus spoke these words in the treasury, as He taught in the temple. And no man laid hands upon Him, for His hour had not yet come. Then Jesus said again to them, I go away, and you shall seek Me and shall die in your sins. Where I go, you cannot come. Then the Jews said, Will he kill himself? Because he says, Where I go you cannot come. And He said to them, You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you shall die in your sins, for if you do not believe that I AM, you shall die in your sins. Then they said to Him, Who are you? And Jesus said to them, Even the same which I also say to you. I have many things to say and to judge of you, but He who sent Me is true, and I speak to the world those things what I heard of Him. They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. Then Jesus said to them, When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you shall know that I AM, and that I do nothing of Myself, but as My Father has taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things which please Him. As He spoke these words, many believed upon Him. Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered Him, We are Abraham’s seed and were never in bondage to anyone. How do you say, You will be made free? Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin. And the slave does not abide in the house forever, but the Son abides forever. Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s seed, but you seek to kill Me because My Word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you, then, do what you have seen with your father. They answered and said to Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus answered them, If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth which I have heard beside God; this Abraham did not do. You do the deeds of your father. Then they said to Him, We are not born of fornication; we have one father, even God. Jesus said to them, If God were your father, you would love Me, for I went forth and came from God; for I did not come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not know My speech? Because you cannot hear My Word. You are of the Devil as father, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and did not abide in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s Words. Therefore you do not hear them because you are not of God. Then the Jews answered and said to Him, Do we not say well that you are a Samaritan and have a demon? Jesus answered, I do not have a demon, but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. And I do not seek My own glory, but there is One who seeks and judges. Truly, truly, I say to you, If a man keeps My Word, he shall never see death. Then the Jews said to Him, Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham and the prophets are dead, and you say, If a man keeps my Word, he shall never taste of death. Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets are dead; whom do you make yourself? Jesus answered, If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I should say I do not know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I know Him and I keep His Word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and He saw and was glad. Then the Jews said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham came into being, I AM! Then they took up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus hid Himself and went forth out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and passed on by.(John 8:12-59)
B. In John chapter 8 Jesus is conversing primarily with the Pharisees about His mission and His Father. In the context of this dialogue repeatedly Jesus is questioned about who He is. The need to establish identity for the Pharisees was important. Either Jesus was a rogue self-proclaimed prophet or an insane (anti)religious fanatic. Both of those options would allow the authorities to marginalize and dismiss Jesus as crazy or a zealot. Jesus did not seem reluctant to enter into this discussion for this was a very important aspect of His ministry…to declare the Father to us (John 1:18) His own Identity was revealed, believed or not, during these times of examination by the religious leaders of the day.
C. “He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jesus would declare a reality or demonstrate divine power through healing or deliverance, then the religious leaders would challenge Him asking who did He think he was and by what authority did He do these things. (Luke 4) Here Jesus’ response signifies the truest statement of assurance and thereby establishes true confidence. “My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going” Insecurity is born out of not knowing where you came from (1.Who you are) and where you are going (2.Goal, destiny, purpose, or mission). In other words…I don’t need your affirmation or validation for I know who I am.
D. However, Jesus understood the Scripture about establishing testimony. Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15 and Jesus reiterated it in Matthew 18:16. Therefore, He consistently referred to the fact that His words were true because He testified and His Father who sent Him bore witness to His words too. His Father bore witness in that Jesus’ words were confirmed with signs and miracles. Jesus always referred to these works as the works He saw His Father doing.
E. Fathers declare Identity. At Jesus’ baptism, it was the voice of the Father that spoke from Heaven “This is my Beloved Son in Whom I Am Well Pleased!” It was and still is the statement that is being challenged concerning our Lord.
F. At the end of the interchange Jesus clearly states who He is. John 8:58 “Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” In verse 59 we realize they understand what He is saying because they pick up stones to kill Him.
II. Our Identity
A. John 8:30-32 “As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed, And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
B. Jesus speaks, to those who are believing, about their present condition and identity. “Whoever commits sin is a slave to sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son make you free, you shall be free indeed.” Jesus is calling them slaves, but declaring their opportunity to be freed by the Son to become sons.
C. Our Christian walk is also about identity. If Jesus was tested concerning His identity throughout His ministry and He is the Author and Finisher of Faith, why do we think it would be different for us? In being Jesus’ disciple He reminds us of a few necessary responses. “If any anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” Luke 9:23,24
D. Jesus wants to free us from slavery to sin and release us into divine destiny of sonship. That we would with confidence know where we have come from and where we are going. Relying on the Great I AM to meet us, lead us, deliver us, protect us, define us, validate us, and love us through this life and the one to come.