December 20: I Am

Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’
— John 8:58
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“I am hungry!” If you’re a dad, then this phrase is the kind of pun setup you simply cannot pass by; cue the groaning of your offspring. If you’re meeting someone and they ask you about yourself, we tend to respond with something along the lines of “I am a <career choice>”. Such as ‘I am a cleaner,’ ‘I am nurse,’ ‘I am retired,’ or ‘I am a member of the defence force.’ I am or we are something.

Jesus made an immense claim when he told the Pharisees, “I am.” We find ourselves waiting for the something to come next. It almost comes across a little strange that the Pharisees don’t reply with, “I am… what? What are you?” But there is no something. Jesus is revealing that he is God eternal - the indescribable, incomparable God who was and is and is to come. Nothing comes next. Jesus, who is called I am, simply is. For beings such as us who are described by other things, activities and dependencies, it’s a difficult concept to wrap our minds about.

Jesus calling himself “I am” has strong connections to God’s revelation to Moses. That Jesus is I am means that he is beyond comparison: there is none like him, and particularly, none who can stand against him. What this means for his many promises is that none can stop him from enacting them or fulfilling them. That Jesus is I am means that in his all-sufficiency, we can rest and take heart. Knowing that if, for nothing else, all we have is God, then we have all we need (Ps 16:5-11). What this means from Christmas to the Cross to our own conviction and consecration is that the power of God at work is unstoppable, utterly dependable and always for good.

Moreover, I am has immense ramifications for our sense of identity. He is the something that comes next in our own ‘I am’ statement; to the Christian, he is the core of our being (Col 1:15-23). Stretch your mind and soul to contemplate the magnitude of Jesus being I am. Then understand that, I am lives in you (Col 1:27). Because Jesus is I am, and I am has made us his, we can confidently declare and take comfort in the truth that “I am his”.