Who is Jesus?

Ascension day concept: Jesus Christ hands showing scars for Thomas over blurred sunset background

Who is Jesus?

John writes about who Jesus claimed to be, and that was God in the flesh. This is why the Jews wanted him dead.

In John 9:58. “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” When Jesus said this, he was stating that he was God. Remember in Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[a] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” I AM was the name for God and Jesus claimed he was one with his Father.

Throughout the book of John, Jesus has 7 other “I am” statements that are written in parables and we will look at each one of these. This week we will look at the first four. Next week we will discuss the last three.  

  1. I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35). The day after Jesus fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish (really more like 15,000 when you include women and children), the people sought out Jesus. Jesus said they were not looking for him for the miracles, but for the food he provided. Then Jesus said, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” (John 6:27). Verses 28, 29 state, “Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” The people then wanted a sign so they could believe. Remember, Jesus had just fed all of the people with 5 loaves and 2 fish and had 12 baskets left over. They already saw the miracle. But they started to discuss the manna the Israelites received for 40 years from Moses. Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread. 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Jesus is our spiritual food. We must partake in him to have eternal life. It is the act of believing in him that is “the work” as stated in verses 28 and 29. As Psalm 34:8 states, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”

Food provides nourishment for our physical body. Jesus provides nourishment for our spiritual needs. When we partake in him, we will never go hungry and will have eternal life.

2. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). Jesus was talking during the Feast of the Tabernacle and used an example the Jews would understand. During this Feast there were 4 candelabras lit for 8 days. This reminded the Jews about God providing a cloud by day and fire at night to lead the Israelites in the desert. That fire gave them light.

Another example of the light was written right after he stated he was the light. Jesus healed a blind man who went from darkness to light (John 9:5-7).

What does the light do for us? First, it allows us to see clearly. Spiritually, the light allows us to see our spiritual condition. We can hide our sins in the dark. We cannot hide sin in the light. Light is truth. John 3:19-21 says, “ This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Another great scripture about this, Job24:14-16, “When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief. The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No eye will see me, and he keeps his face concealed. 16 In the dark, thieves break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they want nothing to do with the light.

When we believe in Jesus, his light shines in our life today and eternally.

3. “I am the gate for the sheep.” (John 10:7-11).   Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” There is a gate for the sheep that they enter and exit. Jesus is saying that he is the gate between heaven and earth, and that we can only enter heaven and have eternal life if we use his gate. Matthew 7:13-14 says, 13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

4. “I am the Good Shepherd.” After Jesus talks about being the gate for the sheep, he states that he is the good shepherd. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Jesus is saying that he knows us by name. He made the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross, so that he could be raised up on the 3rd day and give us eternal life through that sacrifice. He knows his people by name, and cares for them and protects them. Think of Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”

Next week we will read John 13-17.

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