“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14
Studying Yahweh this week we found that this I AM statement was when God introduced himself to Moses as I AM, YHWH. This is the Holy name of God.
In the book of John, we see Jesus use this statement too.
“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’” John 8:58
Jesus said these words in response to the religious leaders who were trying to “trip him up” so to speak. The religious leaders of his day were always trying to find something to accuse Him so that they could arrest Him and/or have Him killed. They were threatened by the way the people followed Jesus. They had at this time resorted to name calling, telling Jesus He had a demon and calling Him a Samaritan. (John 8:48) Jesus knew what He was doing when he told them “before Abraham was I am.” He knew that they would not like it and that they would know exactly what He was talking about. He knew they would call it blasphemous. But Jesus didn’t come to make nice with the religious leaders of that day. Jesus was telling them exactly who He is.
“I am” was a title of deity to the Jews. They knew the stories of Abraham and Moses and the burning bush so for Jesus to use this phrase to them was bold in their opinions. They would think it was blasphemous. This was language that would have been reserved for only God to use. The religious leaders acted exactly as Jesus would have thought they would. They picked up stones to throw at Him. They were caught up in the moment and they intended to kill Him, but Jesus hid himself and escaped them at this time. His time had not come.
Another thing about this being the Holy name of God, please note it is present tense. God is I AM to Moses and to Abraham. Jesus is I AM to the religious leaders and Jesus is I AM to you and to me. He is I AM! Not I was or I will be. He is with me today as He was with me yesterday and as He will be tomorrow. He is always in the present with me. Whatever my circumstances, whether I am walking closely with Him, recognizing His presence or whether I am not. Because I believe and I belong to Him, He is I AM to me!
There are seven more times it is recorded that Jesus used the phrase I Am in the book of John. We will explore these over the next several days.