I Am: The Seven “I Am” Sayings of Jesus

Christian Wallpaper

This is the Christ the Redeemer statue at the entrance of the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Maryland. It’s my first use of color inversion in a wallpaper; I inverted the background colors and the tree-laden background suddenly took on the appearance of an abstract painting. I then overlaid a matching hue on the statue to blend everything together.

The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) record the same question that Jesus asks his disciples:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare’a Philip’pi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?”—Matthew 16:13 (RSVCE)

And Jesus went on with his disciples, to the villages of Caesare’a Philip’pi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”—Mark 8:27 (RSVCE)

Now it happened that as he was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, “Who do the people say that I am?”—Luke 9:18 (RSVCE)

There are some instances in the Synoptic Gospels where he responds with “I am” to others. In Matthew 14, when Christ walks on the water of Galilee, and all his disciples are terrified, he identifies himself (emphasis added):

But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.”—Matthew 14:26-27

The literal translation here is “I am,” which may very well be a reference to how God revealed his name to Moses at the burning bush (see Exodus 3:14). Also, in Mark 14, Christ affirms the identity to the high priest trying to condemn him to death (emphasis added):

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am; and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”—Mark 14:61-62

It isn’t until the Gospel of John that we get to hear more detailed, self-revelatory statements about who “I am.” Each of these seven statements shed a bit of light on his identity, and when read in sequence, it can cast a bright, burning light in our minds and hearts as to who this God-Man is that walked the earth 2 millennia ago.

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