Normally when I have heard ministers preach on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus they deal with them individually. If we can look at them as a group can we see why Jesus used them, and why they were in the order of usage.
As to why Jesus used these sayings we will need to understand the people Jesus was talking to. Most of them were not trained in the scripture and their knowledge was limited to the teaching of the priests. This teaching may have been that God was the creator and sustainer of all living things but his interaction in the lives of the people was limited. Another teaching may have been that God would save his people from those who were oppressing them some day. This savior would more likely be a military savior. With these teachings the people could not accept Jesus as being God with them. They knew Jesus was a man, that he interacted with them and was not a military person. The question now becomes how does he get them to accept him as God with them?
Jesus starts with a progressive plan to show that he is God and that he lives with them. The first two sayings deal with the creation of the world. Second Jesus tells them that in him they have their spiritual lives secure in him – the third and fourth sayings. The following two tells us how we can inter into our heavenly home. Finally Jesus tells us that we must become a part of him.
Being the Bread of life (JN 6) refers back to the manna in the wilderness but may also refer to the creation story as well. God created all we need for both our spiritual and physical health. John 8 tells us that Jesus is the revelation of all God has for us and how we are to live. Again the time God walked and talked with Adam and Eve.
John 10 tells us that Jesus is the one who lets us into the family of God and not our birthright and that he is the one who will lead us into the path we should go. He will protect us from all the tricks that Satan can throw at us.
John 11 and 14 tells us that he is the one that brings us out of a life of sin to a life of righteousness. In other words: from death to life. Furthermore it is he who teaches us the was to the truth and to eternal life.
The final saying teaches that if we are to be the children of God then we must be a a part of him. This deals with the understanding that God is not involved with his people on a personal level. To be a part of God’s family we must be grafted into his life and he must flow through our members.
For those who have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior this will mean a complete change in thought and behavior. First there will need to be an acceptance of who Jesus is and then a desire to be with him. Once we have the desire to be with Jesus it will take the rest of our lives to become more like him.
God bless you as you continue to imitate Christ.