Summary: The first in a seven week series on the "I Am" sayings of Jesus from John's gospel account.
I’m not real big on New Year’s resolutions, but at the beginning of this year I set a personal goal to know Jesus better this year. So I’m really excited about the next seven weeks because we’re going to get to know Jesus better through His own words. Near the end of his gospel account, John describes why he has written that account:
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:30-31 (ESV)
The whole purpose of writing his gospel account is to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that his readers might believe and receive eternal life. And one of the ways John does that is to record the account of seven miracles, or signs, that reveal Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God.
But John also records seven times that Jesus describes who He is in His own words, using the words “I am…” As we’ll discuss in some more detail during the “Connections” time this morning, Jesus was clearly identifying Himself as God by using the very same words that His Heavenly Father had used to describe Himself as He spoke to Moses in the burning bush.
So for the next seven weeks, we’ll examine each of these seven sayings, and, as we do, we’ll let Jesus reveal Himself to us in His own words.
[Scripture readings and song]
[After the “In the Bag”]
There is nothing quite like hot bread right out of the oven, is there? So I’m sure that none of you are too disappointed that the “In the Bag” message this morning featured some fresh bread and that you got to share that bread with the kids.
How is that bread? It’s really good, isn’t it, and if you’re hungry it will satisfy your hunger, at least for the moment. But the problem with this bread is that some of you will already be hungry again before I’m done with this sermon.
Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus also shared a sermon that used bread as an object lesson. That sermon is recorded for us in John 6, so go ahead and turn there in your Bibles and we’ll read His message in just a moment. But first let’s set the scene.
Passover was approaching and Jesus went up on a mountain near the Sea of Galilee and prepared to teach. But before He proceeded to teach, Jesus fed the entire crowd with only five loaves of bread and two fish. After that Jesus withdrew from the crowd and later that evening He walked across the Sea to join His disciples who were in a boat on their way to Capernaum. The next morning, the crowds, realizing that Jesus was gone, got into their boats and also crossed over to Capernaum. We’ll pick up the account in verse 25:
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”