Names of Jesus: I Am
Jesus is the Beloved Son of God, and He is the Only Begotten Son of God. He is the Son of the Most High, the Lord of All, and the Image of the Invisible God. Jesus has so many names, each of which tells us more about who He is, and each holds significance within our personal relationships to Him and His sovereignty over all of creation. This week we will dive in and learn more about John 8:58 where Jesus refers to Himself as “I Am”.
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”John 8:58 NKJV
Jesus is the Great I Am
What does it mean that Jesus claims the name “I Am”? If we swing back to Exodus 3, we see the story of God revealing Himself to Moses in the burning bush. Moses is instructed to go to the Israelites and tell them God has sent him to free them. Moses wants to know who he should say sent him and God says to tell them “I AM has sent me to you.”
14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.[e] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”Exodus 3:14 CSB
God identified Himself to Moses as I AM and told Moses to tell the Israelites this name for Himself. In John 8:58 where Jesus claims the name “I AM”, Jesus is claiming this exact same name. This very clearly communicates to the Jewish people, who would know Moses’s story intimately and therefore the significance of this name, that Jesus was claiming to be God, and was claiming the Godhead – the same God that was with Moses, who led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness, and whom these people claimed to serve and worship.
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Omnipresence of I AM
Jesus is telling the people that He is God Himself, and by this, He is revealing a few other key aspects of Himself. Jesus reveals His omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience.
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.Romans 1:20 ESV
9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,Colossians 2:9-10 ESV
10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
Omnipresence means that God is everywhere, and everywhen. God is outside of time, yet within all of time at the same time, all at once. He is before all things, in the midst of all things, and after all things. He is the beginning and the end. Therefore, the same is true of Jesus as the Son of God whom all things were created through, by, and for.
16 For by[a] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.Colossians 1:16 ESV
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”Revelation 1:8 ESV
Through the omnipresence of God, He knows the whole beginning and end of every person’s life. He knows the beginning and end of the story of mankind and all of creation. He is our Creator, and He is our Great High Priest. He knows what is ahead for each of us, prepares works ahead for us, makes the way for each of us to come to Him, revealing Himself to all of His creation through all of time.
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”Revelation 22:13 ESV
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,Colossians 1:19-20 ESV
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
In claiming to be I AM, Jesus claims this attribute of God and acknowledges that He is the same God who was with Moses at the burning bush, with the Israelites through the wilderness, and is there with them right then. He is outside of time, outside of age, outside of our understanding, and remains so today and into eternity.
Omniscience of I AM
He also reveals His omniscience, which is God’s all-knowing power. The omniscience of God means that He knows all things. As He is outside of time yet existing within all of time, He also knows all of time and all things existing inside and outside of time.
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to[a] my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature,[b] because he is a liar and the father of lies.John 8:42-44 CSB
Jesus reveals that He holds the omniscience of God by revealing the true heart of the people who were questioning Him. In John 8:30-47 Jesus reveals that though these Jews were appearing to serve God, and even doing so in God’s name, Jesus knew the conditions of their hearts and their true motives. He proclaimed that they were in fact children of the devil and not children of God. Only God could have known this, and Jesus was putting this on display.
10 I, the Lord, examine the mind,Jeremiah 17:10 CSB
I test the heart[a]
to give to each according to his way,
according to what his actions deserve.
God knows our true intentions. He knows what we will say and do, how we will respond to Him and when, and knowing all of this He sent His Son, the Image of the Invisible God, to be the spotless lamb and perfect sacrifice for the salvation of those who would believe in Him. He knows who will reject Him and who will accept Him in faith. He knows who will harden their hearts and who will open their hearts to Him.
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV
He, being outside of time, prepares ahead of us the works He has for us to do, revealing Himself to us, knowing what will draw us to Him and what will push us away, and all the time giving us the free will to make that choice.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches
and the wisdom and the knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments
and untraceable his ways!Romans 11:33 CSB
Omnipotence of I AM
As Jesus shows that He holds the same omniscience and omnipresence of God Himself, He also displays the omnipotence of God, which is God’s unlimited power and ability to do anything. Jesus reveals this all throughout the New Testament as He performs miracles and wonders, as He resists temptation and sin, as He fulfills the will of God by living a perfect life, going to die on the cross, and by rising from the dead. Here we see a glimpse of His omnipotence in John 8:58-59.
58 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”John 8:58-59 CSB
Here at the very end of John 8, Jesus tells them again that He is I AM, and then before they can stone Him for blasphemy He veils Himself. He does this several times in scripture, and personally, it gets me every time. He discreetly displays His power in that He can hide in an instant as He deems fit. Here He knew the people’s hearts were hardened, had just called them out, and knew they would not believe the truth He was revealing to them because they did not really know God and therefore could not believe His truth. Instead of continuing to argue, or letting them stone Him, He simply hid Himself and walked away.
2 It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.Proverbs 25:2 ESV
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,Proverbs 28:13-14 ESV
but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
14 Blessed is the one who fears the Lord[a] always,
but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Those who seek Him will find Him. Those who reject Him will harden their hearts against Him and be unable to know the truth. Jesus proclaims this lesson and hides Himself from those who refuse and reject His divinity and deity. Those who seek Him will find Him, and those who accept Him in faith will be saved by the grace of God. God’s Holy Spirit will then be with those who believe in Jesus as the Great I AM, through the end of time.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Matthew 28:18-20 ESV
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Because Jesus is I AM, He has the omnipotence of God. Because we who believe are in Christ and Christ in us, we can do all things through Him by His strength. He gives us His strength to endure and persevere in this world, to resist sin and temptation, and to run this race we’ve been called to.
Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,Hebrews 12:1-2 CSB
2 keeping our eyes on Jesus,[a] the pioneer and perfecter[b] of our faith. For the joy that lay before him,[c] he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
It is up to us whether we trust in His omnipotence, His almighty power, His great strength that is greater than anything we could ever imagine, or whether we will trust in our own feeble (lack of) strength, which can do nothing. It is only through Christ we can persevere, and it is Him who is the victor on our behalf.
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.Philippians 4:13 ESV
26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”Matthew 19:26 ESV
Absolute I AM Statements of Jesus
Jesus proclaims 5 absolute I AM statements. He uses a few metaphorical I AM statements as well, but these absolute I AM statements should be considered here. Each of these statements uses the same phrase for I AM as was used in Exodus 3:14 when God identified Himself to Moses.
20 But he said to them, “It is I.[a] Don’t be afraid.”John 6:20 CSB
24 Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”John 8:24 CSB
28 So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own. But just as the Father taught me, I say these things.John 8:28 CSB
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered.
“I am he,” Jesus told them.
Judas, who betrayed him, was also standing with them.John 18:5 CSB
58 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”John 8:58 CSB
What do these absolute I AM statements reveal to us about Jesus?
- I AM God – do not be afraid.
- If you do not believe Jesus is I AM, you will die in your sins.
- I AM the Son of Man and I AM God.
- I AM Jesus of Nazareth and I AM God.
- I AM the God of Moses and Abraham.
Jesus reveals in these statements over and over that He is God, He is the same God as was with Moses and Abraham. He is Jesus of Nazareth and God all at once, being the Son of Man, the Son of God, Image of the Invisible God. In this, we learn that we do not need to fear Him who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present but that we can come to Him and be saved. If we reject Him, reject who He has revealed Himself to be, we will die in our sins.
Have you accepted the grace of God?
If you have not accepted the grace of God and chosen to believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I encourage you to pray to God now and invite Him in, accept Jesus as the sacrifice for your sins, and repent of your sins. Submit it all to God, lay it at His feet, seek the forgiveness of God, welcome Him into your life, and believe that Jesus died and rose again to save you from your sins.
If you would like to learn more about salvation, you can find a couple of studies that may help here:
- Names of Jesus: Savior
- Don’t Neglect Your Salvation
- Prayer of Salvation
- What is grace and why do we need it?
- What does it mean to be justified by grace?
- Don’t Reject God’s Grace
- Don’t Reject Christ
- Godly Women – what it means to live a godly life
- Redeemed Women – what it means to be redeemed
- What is Biblical Love?
- What are Spiritual Gifts?
- How to live in Spirit and Truth
- How to test what is pleasing to God
- Names of Jesus as the Son of God
- Names of Jesus as the Son of Man
- Names of Jesus as the Truth