Bible Study Discussions with Gary Panell
Question: What does I AM mean, and who is I?
Answer: "Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by." (John 8:57-59)
This is part of the discussion Jesus had with the religious leaders of His day. He was telling them He is God. He used the same term that God used when He appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). The religious leaders knew what He was claiming, and that is why they picked up stones to stone Him, but it was neither the time nor the way Jesus was to die.
"This claim of Jesus to be eternal was a claim to be divine. Thus, in the eyes of the Jews He was guilty of blasphemy, a sin punishable by stoning. This and related passages in this Gospel are devastatingly powerful in refuting the presumptuous notions of skeptics who say Jesus never claimed to be very God incarnate [in the flesh].
"God identifies Himself as I AM WHO I AM. Revealing His divine name declares His character and attributes, reinforcing that the issue is not who Moses is, but who is with him. This name is related to the Hebrew verb meaning "to be," and so implies the absolute existence of God. The Hebrew here is also the source of the English, ‘Yahweh,’ ‘Jehovah,’ or ‘LORD.’" (New Spirit Filled Life Bible)
"And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ Moreover God said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’" (Exodus 3:14-15)
In the Gospel of St. John you can do a study on the different ‘I AM’ statements:
I AM the bread of Life. (John 6:35) I AM the light of the world. (John 8:12) I AM the door. (John 10:9) I AM the Good shepherd. (John 10:11) I AM the resurrection and the life. (John 11:25) I AM the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) I AM the vine. (John 15:5)
You may want to study these verses out further, as this is a great Bible study.
Thanks for the question,
Gary T. Panell
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Keywords: I am, divinity, god, deity