John 8: Jesus the “I AM”

Some scholars suggest Jesus never claimed to be God in the Gospels. Nothing could be further from the truth.

John 8 provides one of many times Jesus equated himself with Yahweh, the Lord Almighty of Israel. There we read:

54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”

58 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

First, Jesus called God “his Father,” something Jewish religious leaders did not do. But the striking feature of this account is how Jesus compared himself in relation to Abraham, the founder of all three of the world’s major monotheistic religions–Jesus claimed to exist before Abraham.

In response, his audience asked, in essence, “You’re not even fifty years old. How is this possible?”

This is where we find Jesus reply with the provocative statement in which he calls himself “I am.” This “I AM” was the name of God revealed to Moses in the burning bush in Exodus. Jesus was claiming not only to know God, but to BE God.

This is why the religious leaders sought to kill Jesus. He was blaspheming according to their law. And if fact, this was true, UNLESS Jesus really was God in human form. It would take not only miracles and powerful teaching to convince most people of his true identity. It would take his resurrection, an event we will celebrate this Sunday as Easter.

Jesus was more than a good teacher, healer, or even a prophet. He is the I AM. Jesus is God.


Dillon Burroughs is the author or co-author of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of the New Testament in 2011 at Find out more about Dillon at or

Browse Our Archives