Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the synoptic gospels. Generally, they contain the same stories in similar sequence. The wording of these three gospels is also similar. John’s gospel is different. From the beginning, its poetic language sets it apart. Jesus is called the Word. And the Word was with God. And that’s not all. The Word was God. Unlike the synoptic gospels, John declares in no uncertain terms the divinity of Jesus.
The “I am” of the Old Testament is Jesus in the New Testament. In several passages, Jesus boldly proclaims his divinity.
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (6:35, NIV)
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (8:12;9:5)
“[B]efore Abraham was born, I am!” (8:58)
“I am the gate for the sheep.” (10:7)
“I am the good shepherd [who] lays down his life for the sheep.” (10:11)
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will…never die.” (11:25)
“I am the way and the truth and the life…If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (14:6-7)
“I am the true vine…” (15:1)
The Pharisees were appalled by these “I am” assertions. They thought Jesus was a fraud. They tried to stone him to death. Even his disciples weren’t sure about the audacity of Jesus’ claims. Some deserted him.
And so it is today. Some people don’t believe him. They want proof, when Jesus’ declarations of divinity are matters of faith. It’s my prayer, though, that we will agree with Martha in John 11:27: “Yes, Lord…I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”