For the last 71 editions you have been looking at the Son of Man. For around half of those you have been looking at the phrases known as the “I AM” sayings. We have examined 8 such phrases which provide a glimpse at the internal architecture forming the unique mind of Jesus of Nazareth. These sayings are self-disclosing sayings statements with which he opens his soul for you to see.
They show you how he sees himself, for they are his words about his consciousness, they show him to you from his point of view. They are the perspectives behind his eyes looking out on the world.
Taken separately they are remarkable enough, which is why you have been with them for about a year. Taken together they generate a masterpiece greater than the sum of their parts. They combine to unveil a majestic human landscape available to you, yet beyond you.
Perhaps if we step back with humble and receptive eyes we can see some of the wonder of his soul, engaging with the view from within him which inspires his own life.
First, you can see from all these sayings that, “I AM” precedes “I do”. Being precedes doing. His character drives his actions. His personhood was the core of his life. This is well illustrated in his “before Abraham was, I AM”. There is no action only being in this phrase.
Pause and think if you will. It is clear from the vine and branches saying, as well as the others, that Jesus, the Son of Man, proposes intimate, life-giving union with himself to you, offering you the power and nourishment to become like him.
So when you get this profile of his character you can see how he will transform you to be like him. Therefore, he will nourish you too in discovering the “I AM” that precedes I do.
You are primarily defined by who you are not what you do. Of course what you do is important but it springs from who you are.
The Son of Man spent the first thirty years of his life learning his true identity. If you would be effective in life you will feed on his nourishment to teach you who you are.
Second, his knowledge of his identity enabled him to become startlingly courageous in his words. The millennia have muted the impact of their content but may I invite you to examine the imagery that he uses and how it impacted the first hearers?
When he said, “Before Abraham was, I AM”, he made himself greater than the greatest figure in Jewish history. Abraham was the father of the nation and recipient of the covenant. Today, three world-religions are labeled Abrahamic. The Son of Man makes himself greater.
When he said, “I am the Bread” he picked up imagery from the time of Moses, revealing himself to be the living version the bread from heaven that Moses collected for forty years.
When he said, “I am the Light” he placed himself above the lights of the world in Genesis, showing that he thought himself to be the ultimate light-source.
When he said, “I am the Gate” he made himself to be the gate to the sheep pen, the gate to the city, the gate to the Temple. His hearers had gates and doors all around them, now the door has arrived.
David was seen as Israel’s greatest king, a shepherd-king, in fact. Yet the Son of Man calls himself the Good Shepherd. He is greater than David, in fact he is the shepherd of David’s 23rd Psalm.
Death was always the last frontier, the final enemy, the great leveller, yet the Son of Man thinks of himself as the resurrection and life. The last enemy is defeated in him.
In Jesus’ time, as now, everyone was trying to figure out the way to live, what is true and what is a lie, what life is about and where it is headed. “I AM”, says Jesus, “the Way, the Truth, the Life”. He’s not suggesting himself as the alternative option, he is proclaiming that he is the option, uniquely placed to solve life’s puzzles and bring you home.
Finally, greater than Israel, the true Vine has arrived and offers union with him as life itself.
Can you see this inner landscape? This is your destiny in Him revealed. These things which are true of him become yours as you are joined to him.
We will explore this landscape further, but for now please hold these first two visions in your soul.
Jesus will teach you who you are so that your primary energy flows from I am to I do.
Jesus will build up your courage to take your identity to work and express the authenticity of your character in your work. That will take courage for sure.
Next time we will fill in some more details of this outstanding inner landscape.
I am the bread of life. John 6:48
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” John 8:58
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. John 10:9
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep; 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— John 10:11, 14
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; John 11:25
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. John 15:1, 5
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