For the kids of Israel the term ‘I am ‘ was really important, for it was with this name that God revealed Himself to Moses in the combustion shrub brush when He had commanded him to present the people of Israel, ( Exodus 3:6,14 ) . In this instance God would be seen as a mighty Jesus or the one who brought redemption to His people from their bondage. In Johannine context, whether it is in the predicate or absolute signifier the ‘I am ‘ expressions basically were written to uncover God through Christ so that Israel and by extension the universe could have redemption.
The intent of this discourse is to research the significances of the ‘I am ‘ expressions and their deduction for redemption. To carry through this, the work of assorted writers along with relevant biblical transitions will be examined and a balanced decision will be reached. To carry through the above aim the author will research the two signifiers of the ‘I am ‘ expressions, i.e. the prognostic and absolute signifiers and explicate their significance to redemption.
The Significance of the ‘I am ‘ Sayings
The ‘I am ‘ expressions are associated with the Grecian word, egoeimi, which means, ‘it is I ‘ , and this suggest that it is a manner of placing oneself.[ 1 ]The ‘I am ‘ stating ‘ are two fold in nature, one is with the pronoun self-importance used for accent. This is basically the ‘I am ‘ expressions with predicates or those followed by a noun. Bauckham cited in Longenecker, argued the predicates were used by John to depict Jesus as the one through which people could have redemption. The other set of ‘I am ‘ expressions were characterized as the absolute which the writer stated were used by John to uncover Jesus ‘ deity or divinity.[ 2 ]
The predicated ‘I am ‘ expressions include illustrations such as: I am the Bread of Life, I am the Light of the World, etc. These expressions represent descriptions of Jesus as the beginning of the ageless and the integrity of the Godhead, for illustration, as in John 6:33.[ 3 ]Bauckham cited in Longenecker besides pointed that the seven predicated ‘I am ‘ expressions, were important in Judaic civilization. He concluded that seven represented completeness in Judaic civilization, therefore the seven ‘I am ‘ expressions above represented completeness in Christ.[ 4 ]This point of position although debateable, speaks to the insufficiency of Judaism.
Kysar examined the expressions from a cultural-historical context and argued that the, ‘I am ‘ expressions was an indispensable portion of Hellenistic spiritual idea, therefore John may hold deliberately written them in that manner as a method of confirming Jesus ‘ individuality in contrast to the claims of Hellenic Gods.[ 5 ]This likely means that John got the attending of the Hellenist because he wrote about something that they were familiar with but from a different position, which was to present Christ. The writer concedes to this position when he argued that the ‘I am ‘ expressions introduced Jesus as the godly disclosure of God, for illustration, the usage of predicates like the Good Shepherd, promoted Jesus in both the Hellenist and Judaic traditions. For followings of the Judaic tradition it meant that merely as Yahweh is one True God, so is Jesus the one True Revealer, ‘none other is comparable. ‘[ 6 ]Mc Grath showed correlativities of John ‘s ‘I am ‘ expressions in Old Testament traditions. For illustration, he claims that they allude to cardinal subjects in the Old Testament, and use them to Jesus. Therefore when God revealed Himself as ‘I am ‘ to Moses and Jesus uses the term, ‘I am ‘ He is connoting that He is God or He was declaring His deity.[ 7 ]
It would look that there was a correlativity between the ‘I am ‘ expressions and some of Jesus ‘ miracles. The Resurrection of Lazarus is an illustration, possibly this miracle was used to let the audience to see that He is genuinely Lord. This may be seen in the figure of yearss for which Lazarus was had been dead.
A similar position is proposed by Kaysar who conceded that the ‘ I am ‘ expressions were coincident with the marks or miracles performed by Jesus for illustration, the eating of the five 1000 and Lazarus ‘ Resurrection were both used to declare different facets of the individual of Christ.[ 8 ]
From the above it is seen that the ‘I am ‘ expressions, were indispensable in uncovering Jesus in a descriptive manner so that the audience could link to His deity. The grade to which this purpose was achieved is sometimes questionable because a big subdivision of the Jews appeared unmindful to Jesus ‘ declaration which culminated in ill will and finally His crucifixion. At this occasion the predicted ‘I am ‘ expressions will be discussed.
The predicated ‘I am ‘ Sayings
1 ) I am the Bread of Life- John 6:35
This stating refers to Jesus as the beginning of ageless life. It besides implies that the human race is in a ageless province of hungriness, seeking for nutrient to fulfill the psyche, this hungriness refers to the emptiness that a individual feels without Jesus in their lives.
The above position is supported by Quast, who suggested that Jesus used this stating to do a comparing between Himself and Moses in footings of the temporal nature of the Manna which Moses offered. Harmonizing to him Moses ‘ mode was used to fulfill the physical hungriness, whilst Jesus as the Bread of Life satisfies religious hungriness. Additionally Quast noted that Jesus used this stating to turn out that He transcended Moses, possibly suggesting to His divinity. The writer besides makes mention to other Old Testament links to this expressions, by suggesting that it is related to the Wisdom tradition of Solomon, as seen in ( Proverbs 9:5 ) and Isaiah, ( Isaiah 55:1 ) where God is described as ‘Bread. ‘[ 9 ]This wisdom so can be seen as a manner of giving life because much prominence is given to it in the Proverbs, for illustration, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 2:12 and many more. Quast added a different position to this position when he concluded that this is more grounds of Jesus divinity which shows that He pre-dated the Prophetss of old.[ 10 ]Possibly this is indicant that Jesus was ready to show a new paradigm which the Jews were non ready for, which is, belief in Him would ensue in their redemption and satisfaction so that there would be no demand to maintain looking for redemption in the plants of the Law.
Some writers have theorized that Jesus used this stating to ask for the Jews into an confidant relationship with Him. This is seen when He challenges them to eat the Bread of Life and imbibe His blood, ( John 6:53 ) .[ 11 ]This familiarity would ensue when the Jews came into a relationship with Jesus, but they clearly missed the point as in indicated in the negative reaction of some of the Jews, ( John 6:66 ) . This confirms that they had an subterranean motivation for following Jesus who was seeking to turn to their mistake in thought. This besides shows that there was a deficiency of sync between Jesus ‘ announcements and the apprehension of what He meant, clearly, He was holding a hard clip making them.
This transition has been reinterpreted as Communion for the Christian ; nevertheless, this position has come under onslaught from Casey who contended that it was meant to concentrate on Christ and belief in Him.[ 12 ]Casey ‘s unfavorable judgment is weak because in Communion the focal point is on Christ, ( 1 Corinthians: 11 ) .
The chief message of this expression is that anyone, who receives Jesus, will hold ageless life. Thus there will be no demand to seek for alternate agencies of fulfilling this religious hungriness.
2 ) I am the Light of the World – John 8:12
This stating suggests that Jesus is the lone true Light, as indicated by usage of ‘the ‘ . The usage of the word ‘a ‘ visible radiation would hold conveyed, something different, intending one of many visible radiations with no particular significance. Thus it is this one True Light who is able to give redemption, the remainder of the accounts below provides support for this point of view.
When Jesus refers to Himself at ‘the Light, ‘ He is bespeaking that He is the beginning who can convey light in the lives of people. This light means that He can convey profound religious apprehension in the lives of work forces and adult females which can take to salivation.[ 13 ]This is seen in the healing of the unsighted adult male in whom both physical healing and religious penetration about Jesus ‘ divinity was received. Furthermore it underscores that Jesus is seeking to bring around the interior sightlessness of adult male which can take to ageless decease. Winstanley confirms this position by reasoning that, Jesus is able to give rescue from ‘inner sightlessness, darkness and ignorance to the penetration and vision of religion. ‘[ 14 ]The thought of Jesus giving religious penetration is testament of His divinity.
Ridderbos took a more critical position of this stating by meaning that it shows a contrast between twenty-four hours and dark. Day in this context means chances for Jesus to work ; presumptively to convey the Jews toward Him as the Light, where as darkness refers to the restrictions of clip which constrained how much could be achieved.[ 15 ]This position is confirmed in John 12:35. Clarke besides presented a pessimistic position by proposing that Jesus ‘ purposes were to utilize His authorization to convey disapprobation and to expose all their wickednesss and wickednesss.[ 16 ]Clarke ‘s thought shows a clear lack in apprehension of Jesus ‘ motivation. Jesus boldly stated that He does non go through judgement in John 8:15.
Some of the Jews rejected Jesus ‘ effort to convey light into their lives. Winstanley contended that despite the Light of the Gospel presented to people they may still neglect to larn and understand.[ 17 ]This is likely because people may prefer to stay in bondage than to have rescue.
3 ) I am the Gate for the Sheep – John 10:7
I am the gate for the sheep ; this phrase parallels the mass hegira of the Hebrewss from Egypt ( Exodus12:13 ) . This rescue was accompanied by the scattering of the blood of a immaculate lamb on the door station of every Israelite ( Exodus12:13 ) . Keller postulated that everyone who went through this sprinkled door was guaranteed protection from God ‘s opinion. He farther claims that a individual went out through that door to liberty, freedom and a new dimension of life under God ‘s way.[ 18 ]Keller ‘s claim is synonymous with Jesus ‘ redemption, for illustration, the door manner in Israel ‘s instance is similar to Jesus as the manner or gate to redemption. Similarly, the blood on the doorjamb parallels the blood of Jesus which was shed. Consequently, when an person comes through Jesus redemption is received, ( John 10:19 ) .
Weaver conceded with the above analysis by saying that this stating implies that Jesus is the lone manner to redemption, He is the gateway to the Father.[ 19 ]This is likely because many others proclaimed another manner, they are referred to as stealers, aliens because they can non give redemption. Jesus therefore had the undertaking of rectifying the falsity associated with Jewish spiritual tradition but they fail to comprehend His purposes. Weaver suggested that Jesus ‘ account may hold been equivocal because of the usage of Greek nomenclature, ‘paroimia ‘ which means adage. He claims that this may hold been consider on Jesus ‘ portion because this expression was intended for His adherents.[ 20 ]
4 ) I am the Good Shepherd – John 10:11
Here Jesus is seen as the ultimate usher to the Father, the extraordinary love for the sheep or humanity led Him to go a lamb so that this counsel to the Father may be possible.
Harris confirms the above by proposing that ‘for a actual shepherd with a actual flock, the shepherd ‘s decease would hold spelled catastrophe for the sheep ; in this case it spells life for them. ‘[ 21 ]Tiat argued from a similar persuasion by observing that Jesus became ‘a lamb to salvage the sheep. ‘[ 22 ]
O’Grady proposed that Johns ‘ usage of the word shepherd was to convey ‘the mutual relationship between Jesus and the single sheep. ‘ Harmonizing to him this signifies familiarity in the Christian Jesus context and in the integrity which is characteristic of the relationship between Jesus and the Father. This brotherhood is what leads to ageless life.[ 23 ]A similar thought is proposed by Brown who suggested that this familiarity qualifies the shepherd to ‘perform responsibilities on behalf of the sheep.[ 24 ]MacLaren added that these responsibilities included ; ‘guidance, care, company, sustenanceaˆ¦ . ‘ He continued by saying that in response to these responsibilities the sheep merely obeys and trusts the shepherd.[ 25 ]This thought suggests that Jesus is able to run into all the demands of the individual who will swear in Him, Tait stated that this is because the ‘Shepherd has intimate cognition of the sheep, ‘[ 26 ]this confidant cognition is merely possible with person who is Omniscient, therefore turn outing that deity of Christ, as seen in the many cases where He was able to comprehend what people thought, Luke 11:17.
Jesus identified Himself as a true shepherd which denotes exclusivity, i.e. He is the lone shepherd who can give ageless life, and all the others are false. Drum sanders cited in Barrett supported the above by observing that the Sheep referred to Israel who was bombarded with many false christ.[ 27 ]Therefore it is seen that Jesus used this stating to put Him apart from the false christ so that Israel may believe on Him.
This redemption is non merely sole to Israel but is extended to the full universe. This is seen in John 10:16, the thought conveyed by usage of the term, ‘other sheep, ‘ is that redemption is extended to the Gentile universe.[ 28 ]
5 ) I am the Resurrection and the Life – John 11:25
This stating was in concurrence with Lazarus ‘ Resurrection. This showed that Jesus has authorization over decease and able to give life beyond the natural, which is fundamentally ageless life.
Guardini ‘s work confirms the above when he stated that, ‘mortality has no bridgehead on Jesus. ‘[ 29 ]He extended his position by suggesting that the individual who is in Christ has a life which will exceed decease. The writers view clearly confirms that the ageless life and Resurrection of the Christian is merely possible in Jesus. Clarke developed this statement by analyzing the construct of life, which he contended is the life of the psyche which surpasses the idea of decease and merely attained in Jesus.[ 30 ]In response to this claim Micklem concluded that ‘our salvation is completed beyond the grave, but it must get down in our Black Marias now. ‘[ 31 ]Micklem ‘s position suggests that external life and the Resurrection on the last twenty-four hours is merely possible when a individual has received Christ in this life-time.
This Resurrection besides infers the canonized organic structure that the Christian will hold when resurrected. Martini supports the above by observing that Christians ‘will one twenty-four hours possess the physical and religious incarnation of a resurrected life merely like Christ. ‘[ 32 ]This is the apogee of ageless life for the Christian, flight from ageless damnation which is described in Matthew 25.
6 ) I am the Way the Truth and the Life – John 14:6
In this stating Jesus points to Himself as the lone way to redemption.
Martini suggested that term ‘I ‘ implies ‘exclusiveness, ‘ intending that Jesus is the ‘only means to salvation, the lone truth and the lone life.[ 33 ]He went on to depict ‘Way ‘ as the way and procedure of redemption which involves recognition of the ‘Way ‘ and so penitence. Micklem agreed, by suggesting to Jesus ‘ mediatory capacity in which He leads those who receive Him to the Father.[ 34 ]
In add-on Martini concluded that Jesus illustrated truth by doing anticipations which came to go through in other words, ‘He substantiated everything He said about Himself. ‘[ 35 ]Micklem added the stating agencies rescue from ‘falsehood ‘ , ‘error ‘ , ‘judgement ‘ and ‘blindness from the truth ‘ . He continued by saying that Jesus exposes the truth of the psyche in relation to the Truth of God.[ 36 ]This implies that He exposes the hopelessness of the psyche without Him and His ability to give ageless life. This exposure of the ‘Truth ‘ of psyches sometimes produces ill will as in the instance of the Pharisees, therefore there must be a corresponding credence of ‘Truth ‘ for redemption to happen.
7 ) I am the True Vine – John 15:1
This imagination shows that Jesus as the Vine gives life to the subdivisions, therefore the Christian can merely be sustained in Him.[ 37 ]Meyer makes a similar observation by observing that the usage of the word ‘True ‘ is used to do a differentiation between the ‘eternal and the temporal. ‘[ 38 ]This is possibly to contrast the temporal nature of Judaism or faith with the digesting nature of Jesus ‘ redemption.
The subdivisions or the Christians are besides sustained by bring forthing fruit. Talbert speculated that this refers to evangelism and ‘manifesting all the fruits of the Christian life. ‘[ 39 ]O’Grady and Hylen reached a similar decision by observing that fruits refer to love which is a mark of Christianity. This love is able to prolong the Christian. He besides noted that the Christian is able to bear fruit merely if they remain faithful to God ‘s word.[ 40 ]This suggests that the bearing of Fruit has ageless deduction which is if a Christian does non populate a holy life the consequence is ageless damnation.
The Christian is pruned to advance fecundity.[ 41 ]This pruning is necessary for redemption, John 15:2, 5-6. Therefore, the lone warrant of redemption is to stay in Christ daily, non simply having Him and life heedlessly. This is possibly because God expects the Christian to do adherents as is commissioned in Matthew 28:19-20.
1 ) The Absolute Sayings
The absolute expressions basically relate to Jesus ‘ deity. However some have ordinary significances, for illustration, John 6:20, ‘I am ‘ should be understood as Jesus placing Himself to the adherents to quiet their frights. This is in contrast to the reactions of the soldiers at Gethsemane who fell to the land when Jesus used the term. ‘I am ‘ .[ 42 ]The reaction of the soldiers clearly proves the divinity of Jesus. The ‘I am ‘ expressions in the absolute sense prove the divinity of Christ as is seen in John 8:39, where Jesus established that He precede Abraham,[ 43 ]a statement which prompted the Jews to impeach Him of blasphemy. This reaction likely shows that they were clearly non prepared for the alteration which Jesus was showing.
Some writers have attacked the cogency of the ‘I am ‘ expressions by suggesting to its absence in the other synoptic Gospels.[ 44 ]Casey noted that in some cases Jesus appeared to be equivocal which likely led to a misunderstanding on the portion of the Jews. From this position this misunderstanding informed their unbelief. Barrett besides noted that some of the expressions lack elucidation such as ‘I am the Good Shepherd, ‘ which is hard to understand. Harmonizing to him this is because John combines several subjects which do non show a clear idea.[ 45 ]
Brown criticized this position by saying that the ‘I am Sayings, ‘ are ‘full of truth and of grace excessively. They are transparently clear and unfathomably deep. ‘[ 46 ]Browns position holds relevancy because the unfavorable judgments above do non use to all the expressions which in many instances correlated with miracles to animate the Jews to believe, so that if the expressions were equivocal so the miracles would supply lucidity ; therefore, it is the Jew who chose to discredit.
The chief subject of the ‘I am ‘ expressions is redemption through Christ. These expressions promote assorted facets of Jesus ‘ character and divinity and at the same time demo how people could defy the Gospel because of spiritual traditions or political orientation. In order words the pride produced by ego righteousness can be a major hinderance to a individual ‘s redemption. This is because in such cases the single defines themselves righteous ; accordingly, the Gospel may be seen as an discourtesy to them. Thus the method used to show the Gospel should be one where Jesus is the cardinal message and non an onslaught on spiritual political orientation.