I AM

There are supposedly “Seven I AM Statements” in the Gospel of John

When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

John 6:19-20 ESV

When Moses was before the burning bush he asked for God’s name. God’s response was ἐγώ εἰμι “I AM”

Most people recognize when Jesus says “I AM” in John he’s making an allusion to the fact that he and Yahweh are the same.

before Abraham was I AM

John 8:58

The problem is, most people look for these kinds of things in an English Bible. Look at John 6 (above). When Jesus says “It is I” guess what the Greek is? Yep, it’s ἐγώ εἰμι. and that’s not included in the “I AM” statements.

Now, surely, not every time that that Bible says “I am” is it an allusion to Yahweh, but John’s goal is to say something about who Jesus is. And so every ἐγώ εἰμι should be looked at in John, further, every time you see ἐγώ εἰμι around a miracle, then it should probably be considered an “I AM” statement.

So what is John saying about Jesus? He is God! He can walk on the water! He is not worried about creation… He is Yahweh!

About John Harris

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

This entry was posted in Biblical Studies, Church, Life. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Jaco van Zyl

    I don’t think your conclusion follows your premises.
    First of all, Yahweh does NOT say “ego eimi” at the burning bush. He says, “ego eimi ho On.” And he tells Moses that HO ON has sent him to the Israelites, NOT EGO EIMI has sent him.
    What makes Jesus’ ego eimi statement different from the healed blind man’s statement in 9:9??? Should there be a difference, and if not, why? I don’t think there is any. Self-identification is the function of this expression, and not deity. Jesus has been the intended one, even before Abraham was born. This proves his legitimacy which is the dominant strand in John’s apologetic Christology.

  • They took up stones to kill him for blasphemy after identifying “I AM”

    This is a standard interpretation, perhaps not in Philo, but for all Christians since Ambrose.

    Blessings.

  • Jaco van Zyl

    Thanks, John
    Why should only what he said before the stoning attempt be seen as the only reason for wanting to kill him? Why not the whole discourse in its totality?
    Since the assumption is that the Jews’ judgment had always been perfect and in strict obedience to the Law, why would they want to put Lazarus to death (John 12:10)? Were they justified for this too?
    Thanks,