Jesus: The Great I AM
by Ryan Leasure
Who was Jesus? This most important question has led to several different responses. Many say he was a great moral teacher. Others argue he was a prophet. Some suggest he was religious zealot or a cynic. People who make these claims rightly recognize the radical imprint Jesus left on society, yet they won’t go so far as to admit that Jesus was divine.
Christians have no such problem affirming Jesus’ divinity. They do so for the reason that Jesus claimed to be divine, and at the same time backed up that claim with miraculous powers. It’s one thing for me to claim that I’m God; it’s another thing for me to prove it to you by raising the dead, calming storms, and walking on water. Christians affirm Jesus’ deity because they believe the Gospels contain authentic history — including the parts where Jesus makes divine claims. I’ve written about the authenticity of the Gospels here, here, and here.
Perhaps the most provocative divine claim Jesus ever made is in the Gospel of John. There, he claims to be “I AM.” To which you might reply, so what? What does that even mean? That sure doesn’t sound like he’s claiming divinity. On the surface, you’d be right. But when you consider the broader context, you’ll see Jesus’ claim is quite radical…
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