The 7 "I AM" Statements and What They Teach Us About Jesus

Carolyn Dale Newell

Carolyn Dale Newell

Contributing Writer
Updated Jun 05, 2024
The 7 "I AM" Statements and What They Teach Us About Jesus

Have you ever wanted to possess a more intimate prayer time? You spend more time in prayer, and you still long for something deeper. Perhaps you’ve tried praying to God through His names, such as Jehovah and Elohim. These names zoom in on characteristics of God.

We can do the same thing with the seven "I AM" statements in the Gospel of John. I hear you, my friend. We can’t even recite those statements—much less know what each one means. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s get to know Jesus better.

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Israelites wandering the desert, AI

1. "I AM"

Let’s understand “I AM” first. Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58 NKJV).

With this declaration to the Jews, Jesus identified Himself as God, which angered the Jewish leaders. When Moses asked God what name he should use when the Israelites asked who sent him, God gave Moses the name, “I AM” (Exodus 3:14-15). Time doesn’t limit God. He is ever present at all times. The first comfort we find in all the “I AM” statements is the constant presence we have with Jesus, God the Son.

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Jesus sitting down for a biblical meal, AI

2. "I am the Bread of Life"

"And Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.'" John 6:35 (NKJV)

As you can imagine, Jesus has many followers after feeding the multitudes with bread and fish. We often look toward Jesus for blessings too, but Jesus wants people to seek Him for who He is and not just what He does. 

Not only can Jesus satisfy physical hunger and thirst, but He alone can satisfy our spiritual needs. What are we longing for? What needs do we pray for daily? Trust Jesus, the Bread of Life, to satisfy each need we have.

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3. "I am the Light of the World"

"Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'” (John 8:12 NKJV).

To commemorate the exodus from Egypt and the wilderness years, the Jews celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles annually. Each night, they lit four large menorahs in the temple court. This joyous celebration included torch dances, according to Finding I AM, a Bible study book by Lysa TerKeurst*.

When the Israelites left Egypt, God led them as a pillar of fire at night and a cloud by day. In the same sense, Jesus says when we follow Him, we will not walk in darkness but have the light of life. Jesus doesn’t remove the darkness, but He provides light in a dark world. God didn’t remove the cover of night for the Israelites while they journeyed to the Promised Land, but He led the Israelites by fire.

Friend, this world loves darkness, and sometimes we travel through some dark valleys. Not only has Jesus removed us from the kingdom of darkness, but He is a light for us to follow. Take encouragement in that today.

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Jesus knocking on a door, AI

4. "I am the Door."

"Then Jesus said to them again, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.'" John 10:7-9 (NKJV)

Finding I AM* shares that in Jewish villages, sheep were kept in a round enclosure made of stone with only one entrance. The shepherd acted as the door to that entrance, lying across it to prevent thieves and predators from gaining access to the flocks.   

Jesus is the door to heaven, but we miss out on the depths of this passage when we stop there. Jesus also offers us an entrance into the good pasture of the abundant life (John 10:10). He gives us access to the throne room of God, instructing us to enter boldly in our times of need to receive grace and mercy (Hebrews 4:16).

Isn’t that encouraging? I have found one more way I can draw closer to Jesus as the door. When I catch myself praying and asking the Lord to open doors for my ministry or healing, I realize He is the Door. That has really given me confidence knowing He is the door, and if I should enter, He will open.

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Jesus is the Good Shepherd

5. "I am the Good Shepherd"

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:11 (NKJV)

This statement is so powerful and rich. If you have time, meditate on Psalm 23 and consider what the shepherd does for the sheep.

Christians are referred to as sheep because sheep tend to wander and find themselves in frightful situations, seeking a rescue. Sheep are dependent and dumb creatures. If not for their shepherd, many would perish.

Our Shepherd provides for us. All that we have is from God: our jobs, homes, cars, and all our stuff. Sheep cannot hunt. They depend on the shepherd for food and medical attention.

Sheep also depend on the shepherd for protection. Sheep make easy prey. The shepherd watches over them carefully. In the Old Testament, David rescued his sheep from lions and bears. How has our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, protected you?

Think of how our enemy prowls around seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). Our Good Shepherd uses his rod and staff to pull us from danger and protect us.

He also uses the rod to guide the sheep, preventing them from wandering off the right path. Celebrate Jesus, our Good Shepherd, today.

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empty tomb, Jesus resurrection and the life

6. "I am the Resurrection and the Life."

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.'” John 11:25 (NKJV)

Jesus spoke these words to Martha at her brother’s grave. Martha knew her theology: on the last day, a great resurrection will occur when all the dead will rise. Martha had no idea Jesus was talking about raising her brother, Lazarus, from the dead.

What does this statement tell us?

Jesus has the last word over sin and death. We can be strengthened by His resurrection power. He has power over the enemy. We have everlasting life through Him.

Jesus also resurrects our health, marriages, finances, relationships, shattered lives, and broken hearts. What needs resurrecting in your life?

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Jesus walking through a vineyard, AI

7. "I am the true Vine"

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1 (NKJV)

We can do nothing apart from Jesus Christ, our true Vine. Just as a vine or plant in your garden or flowerpot may die if it is broken off from the main plant, we are nothing if disconnected from Jesus. 

We must abide in Christ in order to produce fruit. Abide means we must hang out with Jesus. It means to remain or dwell. I’ve always compared it to my teenage days when I hung out with friends all the time. We should feel at home with Jesus, and He should feel at home with us. Sin interferes with that abiding. We usually want to shut the door to those areas in our lives when we don’t want Jesus controlling our behavior. To abide in the true Vine, He must have full access to every area of our lives.

The life of the branches is in the vine, so if we want to produce much fruit, we must stay connected to the true Vine.

Friend, by now, I hope you have become better acquainted with Jesus and discovered ways to connect with Him. I pray you have found encouragement in His seven I AM statements found in the gospel of John. I encourage you to pray through these statements, and you will know Christ as never before.

*Finding I AM Bible Study Book, Lysa TerKeurst, Lifeway Press, 2016, Kindle version, Week two, day one.

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Carolyn Dale Newell headshot with dogCarolyn Dale Newell is an author and certified speaker. She knows what it is to live with blindness, but she calls her disability a gift from God. Her passion is to equip women to break free from emotional strongholds through her book, Faith That Walks on Water: Conquering Emotional Bondage with the Armor of God. You can connect with Carolyn on her website and her women’s ministry group on Facebook

Originally published Wednesday, 05 June 2024.