In the fourth gospel there are thirteen uses of I am by Yeshua in describing his identity and authority. Raymond Brown investigates these “I am” sayings (eigo eimi) and categorizes them. Four uses are absolute (no predicate), two have an understood predicate, and seven have a predicate nominative (e.g., I am the bread of life).
Regardless of your opinion about the historical credibility of the fourth gospel (I believe it is credible, but in this podcast I am not making that case), these statements are significant. We should care not only about what we can give evidence historically as being true sayings and deeds of Yeshua, but also about how his earliest followers saw his aims and message. The living presence of Yeshua amongst his followers is as important as some scientifically investigated idea of the historical Yeshua. But, if you wish to discount the I am sayings in the fourth gospel, you still have to deal with many statements of exalted status and identity by Yeshua in the synoptic gospels. The idea that Yeshua believed he was more than Messiah will not go away.
And do the I am sayings indicate Yeshua claiming divinity? How tight is the case? Listen and find out.
Yeshua in Context is due to be released in August. The Yeshua in Context Sourcebook will be available in September. An audio book produced by First Fruits of Zion will be available in November. And an ebook version of Yeshua in Context should be available for Kindle, iPad, and other readers by September. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-order Yeshua in Context. Also, contact me to come and speak to your group, church, or class.
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