This is a shocking statement; a politically incorrect statement. A large percentage of folks today will find this claim offensive. However, like Thomas, I claim Jesus as my Lord and my God.
Jesus’ I Am statement above comes from the Gospel of John. The Fourth Gospel is full of Jesus’ I Am claims. I Am the bread of life, the light of the word, the door of the sheep, the good shepherd, the true vine, the resurrection, and the life.
The I Am’s are challenging to understand. They feel strange, almost encrypted. (Something like the little piece of art you see.) But they can be understood with a little thinking. The payoff is large because these proclamations by Jesus reveal a great deal about him.
Two items to note. First, Jesus spoke these words to a first century Palestinian audience. Bread, light, doors, shepherds and vines had a culturally specific meaning for them. Understanding the original eco-system into which Jesus spoke deepens our understanding of his words. Fortunately, God inspired pastors, teachers, and writers of Bible commentaries to help us with context.
Second, Jesus is using symbolic language. He is adding a conceptual dimension to everyday things like bread, doors, and vines. In a very simplistic way, take Jesus’ I Am’s and move from the physical realm to the spiritual realm. For example, I Am the bread of life. Bread nourishes our bodies, Jesus and his Word nourishes our spirits.
In Parts 2 and 3 we will go a little deeper. I will also begin to explain the unusual Christian Mandala you see.
For now, know that if you are a believer, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” means that you have access to the Father through Christ. Now. Access to the Father is a present possession of the believer, and was won for us by the blood of Christ.
For through him [Jesus] we both [Jew and Gentile] have access in one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:18