The 7 "I Am" Statements of Christ: I Am the True Vine
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Catching Up In this series we are studying the seven “I Am” statements of Christ found in John’s Gospel. As you probably know by now:), when Jesus said the words “I Am” preceding each of these statements, He was purposely connecting Himself with the word “Yahweh,” the Hebrew name for God which means “I Am.”
Background Once again, we’re going to set the backdrop for this final “I Am” statement before we get into the study of it. Like last week, this statement took place the evening of Jesus’ arrest. It took place at some point between the Last Supper passover meal and when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. In last week’s lesson we talked about Jesus’ 6th “I Am” statement (“I am the way, the truth, and the life”), which He had used to explain to His disciples that they knew the way to the Father because HE was the way to the Father.
In this same conversation, Jesus went on to tell His disciples they were going to do great things on behalf of the kingdom of God:
John 14:12 (ESV) “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
Jesus said it was BECAUSE He was “going to the Father” that they would do these great works - because the Father would then send the Holy Spirit to not only be with them, but be in them:
John 14:16-17 (ESV) 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:26 (ESV) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
So in this Last Supper conversation, Jesus was saying, “I’m leaving, but you know the way because you know Me. I’m leaving, but you’re going to do great things for the kingdom of God. I’m leaving, but God will send the Holy Spirit to not only be with you, but be in you.”
I Am the Vine This leads us straight into Jesus’ final “I Am” statement, which is the opening passage in the next chapter, John chapter 15:
John 15:1-5 (ESV) 1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Before we get into studying the specifics of this passage, we have to talk about something that jumped out at me in this lesson. Jesus’ first four “I Am” statements were spoken to a group of people who didn’t know Him personally. Jesus used the phrase “I Am,” “ego eimi,” to get their attention, shift their focus onto Himself, and show them Who He was.
Then we have the last three statements. One was spoken to Martha, who, along with her family, was close to Jesus. The final two statements were spoken to Jesus’ disciples. So why did Jesus use this phrase, which carried such emphasis, to His own, to those closest to Him? Didn’t they already know Who He was?
Sometimes, even when we know Jesus, He still has to do something abrupt to get our attention.