The Eighth “I am” statement in John’s Gospel

The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me,of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55 But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. – John 8:48-59

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Statue of the exalted Jesus in the Co Cathedral in downtown Houston, Texas

There are seven or eight “I am” statements in John’s Gospel – depending on how you count them. The seven are:

  1. And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
  2. Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
  3. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
  4. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
  5. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
  6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
  7. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1).

The eighth “I am” statement is found here in John 8:58, and is the most profound of the bunch. Here Jesus makes two improbable claims that rocked the world of the Jews to whom he was speaking, and should give us pause. He said that he existed before Abraham who had died perhaps 2000 years prior to Jesus of Nazareth. He also equated himself to God, taking the holy name that God revealed to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:14), and which was so holy that the people of Jesus’ day would not even utter it out loud.

Their reaction? They pick up stones to throw at Jesus, but are thwarted in that attempt for Jesus’ time had not yet come (cf. John 7:6). Instead, Jesus hid himself and left the temple.

Some say that the saddest verse in the Bible is Judges 2:10. Others might suggest, “Jesus wept.” Still others might suggest Genesis 3:6. I might say that the last part of John 8:59 is the saddest: Jesus leaves the temple. The Son of God, through whom the whole universe was made, comes to his own, should have been the object of their worship. He came to fulfill the whole Law. He came to be among God’s people, and he has no place in the Temple dedicated to the God who sent him.

But Jesus is the eternal I AM. He was and is and is to come. He will leave the temple, but he will be eternally present with his people – those who call upon him in faith. This eighth “I am” statement of Jesus establishes him as our Lord and God. He is our Redeemer and Friend, the source and center of all truth.

18 comments
  1. Very nice post. We we’re talking about this very topic in Gospels class yesterday.

    • dlbpandp said:

      Great to hear from you. Blessings!

  2. Surely there is at least one more: “Whom do you seek? They replied, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said to them, I am he.” (Jn 18:5)

  3. M. R. said:

    I think we could add another one. Actually the first of these “I AM” statements’ series.
    John 4:26, responding to the Samaritan woman mentioning the coming Messiah:, “Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He”

  4. iluvtheword said:

    What an awesome post, thank you for that.
    I am about to start preaching through the I AM statements of Jesus, and am starting with this passage.
    I was also wondering why we are told about the 7 I AM statements, when there are clearly 8, with this one being the most important?
    Very well written blog, thank you.
    Love and blessings to you from the north of Scotland.

    • Indeed… This is a good observation. Jesus claim to be the great I AM is profound! Thank you for your comment.

  5. William Wright said:

    I think there are Nine ” I AM”s stated by Christ in John if you include John 13:19 which ties it to Exodus 3:14.

    • John 13:19 is clearly also an I AM statement. The Greek is clear: ἐγώ εἰμι. That’s an emphatic “I AM” to be sure. Thanks for pointing me to that. Wonder if there are actually more!

  6. David said:

    Today in our church pastor Daniel preached this message

  7. A sinner said:

    It seems one could go on for hours finding new I AM’s in John’s Gospel, many of which emphasize his standing as the Son of God (and make a great study in themselves). But to me the profound thing about the “original” seven is what he was for the believers that would eventually believe on him. He is the “conduit” if you will…to God, the Father…our way into heaven. It’s only through Him that we have life, we have light for our path. Through this door, we can be guided by the good shepherd into a life eternal, having been resurrected through Him. Attached to him, we may bear fruit because of the life that’s in the vine. All because He is the Way, the Truth and the Light.

    • So thankful for these comments. All glory to God through Jesus Christ our Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit!

      • A sinner said:

        Amen and amen, Brother!

  8. RSDijamco said:

    Thank you. Very helpful in my studies.

  9. the Rev. Carl Stiglich said:

    One “I am” completely missed is found in 4:26. After the woman at the well mentions the Messiah, the Christ a translation of John 4:26 Jesus says “I am he” (i.e. – the Christ). The same emphatic Greek form of the “ego” “eimi” is used here as in other “I am” statements and also in the LXX, the ancient Greek translation of the OT) in Exodus 3:14. I would add this to the list of eight (or seven) I am statements….PoP

  10. John Polli said:

    Great word precious man of God!
    I was studying from John 5:43 and ran across your site. It states, “I am come in my fathers name and you did not receive me, if another comes in his own name him you will receive.”
    Of course this speaks to the antichrist which in Matthew he said there’d be many.
    What I was actually trying to find was the Greek meaning of the “I am” portion But haven’t found it yet and then of course ran across your site.
    Keep up the great work. God bless you brother!!!

  11. DDGraves said:

    I really enjoyed this Biblical teaching on the I Am’s of Jesus. He is all of those and so much more. Thank you for helping to increase my knowledge of His Word. God bless and keep you!

  12. Collin said:

    👍 for your summary, especially the 8th one which i did not previously consider. 🙏🔥

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