Before we leave chapter 15, we ought to mention that we have here the last of the “I am” metaphors that Jesus is recorded as saying in John’s Gospel. Some I have already addressed directly and numbered in commentary, while others have not been called out as such.
1. “I am the bread of life.” 6:35, 48, 51
2. “I am the light of the world.” 8:12; 9:5
3. “I am the door of the sheep.” 10:7, 9
4. “I am the good shepherd.” 10:11, 14
5. “I am the resurrection and the life.” 11:25
6. “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” 14:6
7. “I am the true vine.” 15:1
In addition to these metaphors that help us understand who Jesus is and His ministry to the world, Jesus also made explicit declarations of His divinity, using God’s name (YHWH) in reference to Himself. Sometimes these are subtle in translation, but the Gospels show us that they were not overlooked in Jesus’ day and culture.
[6:20] “I am (he); do not be afraid.”
[8:24] “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am you will die in your sins.”
[8:28] “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.”
[8:58] “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
[18:5] “I am (he.)”
There can be no debate about whether Jesus considered Himself to be both the Messiah and God in the Gospel of John. Whether one choses to believe Jesus’ statements or not is an individual choice. However, simply declaring that Jesus wanted to bring about a cultural change or reject the powers that be of His day is to ignore much of the history. Jesus said He is God and that He was sent to usher in the Kingdom of God by giving people an opportunity for restored relationship with God.