“I am …”
In one of the four Gospels of the Bible (John), the writer records various phrases from Jesus when he identifies himself in dramatic ways using the words “I am”.
“I am the bread of life”; “ I am the light of the world”; “ I am the good shepherd”; “ I am the gate”; “ I am the way, the truth and the life”; “ I am the resurrection and the life”; “ I am the vine”; and, most graphically, “Before Abraham was, I am”. [Abraham had lived around 2000 years earlier]
While this use of “I am” doesn’t carry much significance when translated into English (we focus on the rest of the phrase), in the original language, it was not the normal way of identifying yourself. The actual phrase Jesus used carried a much stronger interpretation. God had revealed himself to Moses as the “I am” – the ever present one – and this version of the phrase became the divine name which was rarely if ever used outside worship. Jesus’ use of the word to proclaim divine attributes about himself was as close to saying “I am God” as he could have got without actually saying it. The reaction of the people showed that they understood what he was claiming.