I Am

I Am

    Jesus visits Jerusalem to attend the feast of the Jews, while Jesus is there, He sees a certain man that has been lame and withered for 38 years. Jesus heals this man and the Jews are furious that Jesus would heal a man on the Sabbath; this violated the Jewish law. Afterwards, Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and there was a large crowd that followed Jesus. Jesus climbs the mountain and sits down with His disciples, and seeing the large crowd that was following; Jesus knew they would be hungry. Jesus asks Philip, “where can food be purchased to feed everyone.” Philip, being the analytic one, responded that 200 denarii would not feed everyone. Shortly thereafter, Andrew brings one small boy who carried five loaves of bread and two fish. With doubt imploring the minds of the disciples, Jesus asks them to sit down, which there were approximately 5000 of them. After giving thanks, Jesus distributes the bread and fish to the disciples and then the disciples distributes the bread to the crowd, feeding everyone until they were full. Afterwards, the disciples gathered the leftovers and they discovered they had twelve baskets full of leftovers. Many saw this miracle and believed Jesus to be a prophet, and Jesus perceived the crowd desired to make Him king therefore, He withdrew to the mountain alone.

Later that evening, the disciples get into a boat to sail to Capernaum, and sometime during the trip, the sea became angry and tossed them around. The disciples look out on the sea and they saw Jesus walking upon the water. Once they made it to the other side, the crowd began to search for Jesus. “While they made their search under the pretense of ‘seeking Jesus,’ Jesus noted, “You seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. Jesus was illuminating their spiritual unbelief even though they followed Him outwardly.”[1] Jesus also taught that they should work for the food that gives eternal life. The crowd inquires of the work they are to perform to receive the eternal food and Jesus tells them to believe upon the one who God has sent. The crowd goes further and asks for a sign, so they may believe and they referred to the manna that flowed from heaven while Moses was leading the Israelites out of the wilderness. “Jesus pointed out two errors: it was not Moses that gave the bread from heaven, but God, and further God not only gave but ‘gives’ the true bread from heaven.”[2] This interchange resulted in the first of the seven “I am” statements found within the Gospel of John.

“Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life.” The Greek language at this point is strongly emphatic, reminiscent of God’s own “I am” recorded in Exodus 3:14, “God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.”[3] “Jesus stated that all who come to Him in saving faith will never be driven away and that it is God’s will that all should so come.”[4] “Jesus went further and pointed out that there are two kinds of food: food for the body, which is necessary but not the most important; and food for the inner man, the spirit, which is essential. What the people needed was not food but life, and life is a gift. Food only sustains life, but Jesus gives eternal life. The words of Isaiah 55:2 come to mind: “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?”[5]

When Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”[6] This statement reveals God in the Old Testament through the manna He provided the Israelite’s. Exodus 16:14–18, tells us, “And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. In addition, Moses said to them,

It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent, and the people of Israel did so. They gathered some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat.[7]

God provided His people exactly the right amount manna to sustain life. Jesus points out that His Father provided the food necessary to sustain physical life, but His Father also provides the bread to sustain our spiritual life and give us eternal life.

Jesus’ claim to deity came when He stated, “John 6:35, Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”[8] The statement “I Am” comes from Exodus 3:14, “God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.”[9] The term “I Am” was Gods description of who He is to Moses and Jesus used the same terminology to describe Himself to those around Him. When Jesus made the “I Am” claim there obviously needed to be information to confirm His claim. Warren Wiersbe compared the Old Testament manna, to the New Testament Manna and there is no doubt Jesus is the “I Am,”

It came from heaven at night; Christ came from heaven when men were in darkness.

It fell on the dew; Christ came, born of the Spirit of God.

It was not defiled by the earth; Christ was sinless, separate from sinners.

It was small, round, and white, suggesting His humility, eternality, and purity.

It was sweet to the taste; Christ is sweet to those who trust Him.

It had to be taken and eaten; Christ must be received and appropriated by faith (1:12–13).

It came as a free gift; Christ is the free gift of God to the world.

There was sufficient for all; Christ is sufficient for all.

If you did not pick it up, you walked on it; if you do not receive Christ, you reject Him and walk on Him (see Heb. 10:26–31).

It was wilderness food; Christ is our food in this pilgrim journey to heaven.[10]

If proof of His deity was not shown through the feeding of the 5000, in the way He preached and taught, then after these comparisons, there has to be no deniability of His deity. “Christians continue to share the life of Jesus, by eating bread and drinking wine at the Eucharist or Holy Communion. Jesus describes the bread and wine as the spiritual food of his own body and blood. John completely identifies the food with its meaning and effect: it is the eternal life of Jesus within those who believe. Jesus is the real bread from heaven which gives life forever.”[11]

Bibliography

Knowles, A. The Bible Guide. Minneapolis, 2001.

Morris, Leon. Jesus is the Christ: Studies in teh Theology of John. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans Publishers, 1989.

Towns, Elmer. The Gospel of John: Believe and Live. Chattanooga: AMG, 2002.

White, J. E. Holman Concise Bible Commentary: John. Nashville, 1998.

Wiersbe, W. W. Wiersbe Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, 1992.

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, 1996.


[1] Elmer, Towns.”Christ the Deity.” The Gospel of John: Believe and Live. Chattanooga, TN.: AMG, 2002. 62.

[2] Leon, Morris. “Christ of God.” Jesus Is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 1989. 110.

[3]  The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ex 3:14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[4] J. E. White, (1998). John. In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman concise Bible commentary (D. S. Dockery, Ed.) (474). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] W. W. Wiersbe, (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Jn 6:22). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 6:35). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[7]  The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ex 16:14–18). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[8]  The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 6:35). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[9]  The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ex 3:14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[10] W. W. Wiersbe, (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (227). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[11] A. Knowles, (2001). The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed.) (513). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.

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