02283_000_005The Savior taught important lessons when He said, “I am …”
Sometimes the most memorable experiences with the scriptures come from having patterns suddenly stand out to you while you’re reading. For example, did it ever strike you how often the Gospel of John mentions that Jesus said the words “I am”? When Jesus said this, He was usually making a comparison in order to teach people who He is and what He does for them. Look closely at some of these comparisons, and you’ll learn a lot about the Savior.
The Bread of Life
“I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. … I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever” (John 6:35, 51).
The Feast of the Passover commemorates the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt and includes the eating of unleavened bread. As this celebration drew near, Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the 5,000. Many who saw this miracle followed Him because He had given them food, so He taught them to seek for the food “which endureth unto everlasting life” (John 6:27). He then taught them about manna, reminding them that it came from heaven to feed the Israelites in the wilderness. He declared, “I am the bread of life,” telling them of the spiritual nourishment Heavenly Father sent through Him, as well as the promise of eternal life He brought.
At a later Passover feast, Jesus used bread to signify His body as part of the sacrament. When we partake of the bread each week during the sacrament, we are reminded of Jesus Christ—His sacrifice, His Resurrection, and the promise of constant spiritual nourishment through the companionship of His Spirit.
The Light of the World
“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Jesus called Himself the Light of the World at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. Each night during this feast the temple lights were lit to symbolize the Light of God, which is sent out to the world. John declared that Jesus “was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). And through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord revealed that the Light of Christ “is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings” and which “giveth life to all things [and] is the law by which all things are governed” (D&C 88:11, 13).
Our minds and spirits are illuminated through Jesus Christ. His light guides our path, helping us tell the difference between good and evil and showing us the way to eternal life.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Jesus compared Himself to the main vine of a grapevine. This main vine not only keeps the whole plant rooted to the ground, but it also nourishes all of the smaller vines, which branch off from it and bear fruit. Jesus Christ is our anchor of hope and our source of spiritual nourishment and growth. Through Him we gain the strength we need to live righteously and perform good works. He is also the foundation of the Church and the source of its authority to preach the gospel and branch out into all the world.
The Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine” (John 10:14).
The main duties of a shepherd are to lead the sheep to food and water and to return them to the safety of the fold. A shepherd also protects the sheep from dangers such as wild animals and thieves. Because he knows his flock, he can tell when a sheep is missing, and then he goes to find it. His sheep are submissive to him and trust him completely.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calls out to us when we stray, and if we learn to heed His voice, He leads us to the safe pastures of salvation and eternal life, protecting us from the dangers of death and sin.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).
In a way, simply by saying, “I am,” Jesus said it all. With this, He declared that He is the Creator of the world and Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, whose name literally means “I am” (see Exodus 3:14).
Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah and Savior, who saves us from sin and death. Because of who He is and what He did for us, we can have everlasting life and become who we are meant to be.
“Whom Say Ye That I Am?”
The Savior asked His disciples this question, and Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (see Matthew 16:15–16). Here’s how teens and young adults from around the world answer this same question:
Jesus Christ has done a lot for me. He has given me my family and the gospel. He’s helped me in my studies. I’ve received several scholarships, and I believe these were blessings from Him. If He hadn’t come to show us how to live, we wouldn’t be able to return to our Heavenly Father.
Bryan N., 13, Honduras
I know that through the Savior’s suffering, death, and Atonement, we can be resurrected and we can be redeemed spiritually and physically. Because of faith and repentance, I have learned that we can be forgiven of our sins.
Joan O., 19, Philippines
A long time ago a man walked this earth, a man whose actions and words have touched millions of lives—including mine. He is Jesus Christ. His atoning sacrifice continues to influence my life every day. How amazing it is to know that through His wounds, our own wounds can be healed. Because I know that Jesus is the Christ, I am preparing to serve a full-time mission and spread His gospel to the people of the world who have not yet felt of His endless love. He is the Savior and Redeemer of my soul.
Kristian M., 24, Croatia
Jesus Christ has done for us what no one else could do. For me, obtaining the Aaronic Priesthood was a wonderful moment because I knew it was what the Lord wanted me to do. I was following His example. I know that He will continue to lead me and teach me the way.
Limhi G., 17, Mexico
After my mother passed away, life began to feel too much to bear. I finally turned to my bishop for advice. What he told me wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it changed my life. He invited me to rely on Heavenly Father by praying, reading the scriptures, and trusting that the Savior would be there for me—trusting Him so much that I would feel my burdens become lighter. Two and a half years later, I know that there is a constant peace available to all of us because of who our Savior is and what He did for us.
Whitney W., 19, Arizona, USA
I know that Jesus Christ lives. He loves me, and He gave His life for me. He is my friend. By His teachings, I learn how to be like Him. He is just, kind, perfect, and charitable. He suffered in Gethsemane for everyone. I know He is the Living Christ, my Savior, my Rock, and my Lord.
Claudia R., 25, Mexico
Growing up in the Church and going to Primary, I have learned about Jesus Christ from when I was a little girl. And my testimony has grown stronger since then. Now that I’m on a mission, I love having the opportunity to share the gospel and testify of Jesus Christ every day.
As I think of the Savior and all the things He has done for me, I want to be closer to Him. I’m personalizing the things I learned as a child. I love being able to help other people feel the love of our Savior Jesus Christ. This testimony is not just something I say—it comes from my heart.
Susana V., 21, Tonga
Photographs by Welden C. Andersen; The Last Supper and The Lord Is My Shepherd, by Simon Dewey, courtesy of Altus Fine Art, American Fork, Utah
The Lost Lamb, by Minerva Teichert; Universe, by Sidney E. King; detail from Come, Follow Me, by James Taylor Harwood, courtesy of Museum of Church History and Art