In the Gospel of John are seven well-known “I Am” statements, by which Jesus reveals Himself as God, Redeemer, Protector, Hope, and so much more. There’s also a lesser-known group of seven statements made by Jesus during His earthly ministry. They are the “I Will” statements. Five of these are found in the Gospel of John and two in the Gospel of Matthew.
While the “I Am” statements reveal to us the Person of Jesus, the “I Will” statements tell of His purpose for us, His love and grace given to us, and the hope we have in Him. They are precious promises that give us confidence in our God and Saviour, and joy, rest, and assurance in our salvation.
Let’s first review the seven “I Am” statements, then learn of the seven “I Will” promises.
The Seven “I Am” Statements from Jesus
1. I am the bread of life (John 6:35)
This reveals Jesus as the Sustainer of our lives. While bread sustains our physical bodies, Jesus sustains our souls because He is the essence of our spiritual life. The symbolism of the bread of life harkens back to the manna that God provided to sustain Israel in the wilderness. The manna was available to all who would look up, as it fell from Heaven, and receive it by trusting God’s instruction to gather it. We are to keep looking up to the Author and Finisher of our faith (Luke 21:28, Heb 12:2)
2. I am the light of the world (John 8:12)
This reminds us of the words of John the Baptist who bore witness that Jesus is the Light and that He came into a dark world to give light to all mankind. In Christ, we are children of the light (1 Th 5:5).
3. I am the gate for the sheep (John 10:7)
A gate is always for protection. In the dark of night, a shepherd would lie down across the opening of the sheepfold to sleep. By doing so, he would know if any of the sheep tried to wander outside of the fold. Jesus is the gate of His sheepfold that keeps His sheep (those who are His) in safety throughout the “night” (the darkness of this world).
4. I am the good shepherd (John 10:11)
A good shepherd gathers his sheep to himself and prods or pulls them in the direction that he deems best. Jesus, as the good shepherd laid down His life for His sheep, so He could gather them to Himself and they could be forever led by His rod and staff.
5. I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)
Jesus rose again to conquer death and in doing so opened the way to eternal life.
6. I am the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6)
This verse is one of the clearest that proclaims the truths of salvation in Jesus. Because Jesus is God, He is absolute Truth. Because He is eternal, He is the giver of eternal life. And because He is the Saviour of man, He is the only way to the Father, and it is only by trusting in His truths that anyone can receive His gift of eternal life.
7. I am the true vine (John 15:1)
In Jesus’ final “I Am” statement, He spoke of the rest He came to give. Because all who come to Him in faith, are saved by His grace, they are made a new creation and are now IN CHRIST. And, just as a branch is of the vine, and sustained by the vine, we are of Jesus and sustained by Him. That is real rest and assurance, for He is our all and all and He is the Great I AM, the God of all creation who is sovereign over all creation.
In each of these seven statements, Jesus began with “I Am…” In the statements, Jesus wasn’t claiming to be God, but rather was simply attributing metaphors to Himself for our edification. However, in John 8:58, Jesus did claim to be the Great I AM.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
So also, did Jesus Himself as I AM in these verses (note that in both verses “he” is in italics, indicating it is not present in the ancient, original language manuscripts.
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself;
I AM – The Covenantal Name of God
The two words, “I AM” form the name God gave to Moses when he asked:
“…when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers has sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” (Exodus 3:13)
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:14)
I AM THAT I AM
- is the inner meaning of the covenantal name of God first revealed in the Garden before the fall of man (Gen 2:4). The name in Hebrew letters is YHVH, and is commonly written in English as Yahweh.
- further revealed Yahweh and emphasizes God’s dynamic and active self-existence. No one can speak the name “I AM” without taking it to themselves because it is a first-person name.
- I AM is the Hebrew word “hayah” and it means to exist, to be or to become, to come to pass. Every tense of the verb “to be” is in Exodus 3:14 “I AM THAT I AM” statement. In the original Hebrew, it conveys “I was, I am, and I shall be”–or more accurately, “I shall always be the unchanging God, I AM.”
Jesus’ words in John 8 clearly declare that He was, is, and always shall be God.
The Seven “I Will” Statements from Jesus
These seven statements are precious promises that give us the perfect assurance, rest, hope, and joy that can only be received from God.
1. I will make you fishers of men. (Matt 4:19)
When Jesus saves a repentant sinner, He equips the forgiven sinner to share the good news of their salvation so they can be “fishers of men” to help bring new “fish” (repentant sinners) into the “net” that it might be abundantly filled.
2. I will give you rest (Matt 11:28)
When Jesus saves a sinner, He gives them peace with God, and the ability to choose to have the peace of God. (Read What is the Difference Between Peace WITH God and Peace OF God?)
3. I will keep you. (John 6:37).
This is the promise of security in Jesus. Our salvation cannot be lost or taken from us (Read: How can I convince someone that they have eternal security? and What is eternal security/assurance of salvation?)
4. I will love you (John 14:21).
This is a promise of Jesus’ faithfulness and a guarantee of our eternal security.
5. I will do what you ask in my name. (John 14:14)
Just as God is a good Father who gives good things to His children, Jesus is a good Saviour who gives to us also. The key is asking in His name. That also means according to His will, because as Sovereign over all things He knows what is best for those who are His.
6. I will come again and see you again (John 14:3, 16:22)
The Bible has many prophecies that tell of the return of Jesus to make all things new and we can be assured that it will happen. Our certainty comes from Jesus’ own words. He promised His return and we know it will be glorious.
7. I will send the [Holy Spirit] to you. (John 16:7)
One of the great gifts of our salvation is Jesus’ presence with us by the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling all who are His. The Power of the Resurrection lives in us and guides and teaches us in ways of righteousness and convicts us when we wander or sin. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the gift of confidence in Jesus that helps us face daily life and the presence of the Holy Spirit is a joy knowing we are never alone. (Heb 13:5).
The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks the question “What is the chief purpose of man?” and answers with: “to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” What better way to enjoy God than to grow in confidence and assurance of His great love and His amazing grace for you. The seven “I Am” statements and the seven “I Will” statements do just that. Read through them often, and remember them always, for they give the rest for the soul that Jesus promised to those who are His.
Mat 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
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