CONTENTS 

Christ Is

 

Most everyone familiar with the New Testament has heard of the "I am" at John 8:58. There's others like it.

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John 14:6 . . I am the way

The Greek word translated "way" is somewhat ambiguous. It can not only indicate a route-- a path, a road, or a trail --but also progress.

For example, it takes roughly five months for people afoot to complete the entire route of the Pacific Coast Trail from Campo California to Washington State's border with Canada.

Resourceful hiker trash report their daily progress on social media platforms like FaceBook and YouTube. Successful thru hikers-- those who complete the journey --publish one final progress report when they reach their ultimate destination: the Canadian border.

That's the sort of progress report that Jesus announced on the cross when he said "It is finished." His crucifixion was trail's end, and he  crossed the border, so to speak, by rising from the dead.

People who have come to faith in Christ, need not retrace his steps in order to be in the way because they already did. God-- by means of some strange procedure that I do not yet fully understand --reckons them crucified, died, buried, and resurrected along with, and in, His son. (Rom 6:3-11, Gal 2:20, and Col 3:2-3) _

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John 11:25 . . I am the resurrection.

People who make the cut for a bodily Christian resurrection will be immortal. (1Cor 15:51-54)

However; at the time Jesus made that statement, he wasn't yet risen from the dead, i.e. Jesus wasn't immortal. We can be sure of that because had he been, then it would've been very difficult for the Romans to execute him on the cross. Jesus is immortal now (Rom 6:9 and 1Tim 6:16) but he wasn't then.

So; there's apparently more to the resurrection that Jesus spoke of than immortality because the grammatical tense of his statement is present tense rather than future; indicating he was the resurrection right then.

When Jesus was here, he was not only a human being with human life, but he was also a human being with eternal life.

John 5:26-27 . . For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in himself.

That very same eternal life is available right now, no delay and no waiting period.

John 5:24-25 . . I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth; a time is coming, and has now come, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.

So: a rough-hewn description of a Christian is someone that's a human being with human life while simultaneously a human being with eternal life: same as Jesus was, and still is.

But there's a catch. People cannot have eternal life a la carte as it can only be had by having Christ too seeing as he is, in some mysterious way, the very existence of eternal life even as his Father is the very existence of eternal life.

1John 1:1-2 . . That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

1John 5:11-12 . . God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

NOTE: According to John 5:24-25 and 1John 5:11-2, people lacking eternal life are not only dead on the hoof, but neither do they have God's son; which is a very grave situation because according to Rom 8:9, folks lacking God's son are outsiders, viz: they are not Christ's sheep. _

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The 10th chapter of John begins with what appears to be a community stockyard where large numbers of sheep from all over are penned when they aren't out to pasture; probably during winter when grasses might be scarce.

It also appears that more than one shepherd is keeping sheep there; and then in Spring, when the weather begins warming and grasses are greening up, the shepherds come to round up their flocks and move them out to pasture.

One of the shepherds in this story stands out. He apparently has a vested interest in his sheep because he bought and paid for them out of his own pocket whereas the other shepherds are seasonal wranglers, i.e. employees.

The exceptional shepherd in the story is personal with his sheep, and has even given each individual head a pet name; and the sheep have somehow memorized their own names, which makes it easier for Mr.Exceptional to cull his sheep from the stockyard without inadvertently taking another man's sheep by mistake.

Mr.Exceptional's sheep not only know their own names, but they are familiar enough with the timbre of his voice to recognize it from among all the other shepherds. This suggests to me that this particular shepherd continually communes with his sheep along the trail to pasture and also when they're settled down for the night too. I wouldn't be surprised if he sang to his sheep like cowboys sometimes do to calm the nerves of the cattle under their care.

Then the scene shifts to the outdoors, a ways off from the stockyard. The sheep are bedded down for the night under circumstances where the only way that predators can get to the sheep is past Mr.Exceptional himself, i.e. over his dead body, so to speak. The location could be a cave, or a small box canyon with high walls: anything would do just so long as there is only one way in and one way out.

John 10:11 . . I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

The thing to note is that the quality of Mr.Exceptional's dedication, his competency, and his reliability is so high that he can confidently guarantee that any, and every, sheep seeking shelter in his stronghold is 110% safe from all alarm.

John 10:9 . . I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved

Were Mr.Exceptional a so-so shepherd; then he wouldn't dare say "will be" saved; no, he'd have to tone it down a bit and say "can be" saved. That would leave him some room for error. But when he says "will be" saved, he's claiming a 0.0% failure rate. This shepherd is one tough cookie! _

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John 6:48-49 . . . I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.

Manna was very nourishing but limited; it didn't sustain Moses' people indefinitely even though it was God-given and miraculous.

Psalm 78:24-25 is commonly translated to say that the manna was angels' food, but in none of the other fifteen places where the Hebrew word appears is it translated to indicate celestial beings. It usually speaks of strength, valiance, and/or superiority.

I think we can safely paraphrase Ps 78:25 to say that manna was powerful food; and indeed it was because it's common to develop deficiency diseases when people eat only one kind of food at every meal day after day; especially vegans. But according to Deut 8:4, the people apparently enjoyed exceptional health.

John 6:50-51a . .This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever;

Jesus chose a good comparison. Up till that moment, the Jews knew of no foods superior to manna.

John 6:51b-52 . . And the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

The Jews misunderstood Jesus to mean cannibalism. Well; he laid that idea to rest with this statement:

John 6:61-62 . . Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them: Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?

In other words; in order for people to successfully cannibalize Jesus' body, it would have to be accessible where they could cut into it with a knife and fork. Were he to depart for heaven, which he eventually did; people would lose access to his body and thus find it impossible to comply if true that his teaching spoke of cannibalism. So we can rule out a literal meaning of his words right off the bat.

Jesus' teachings were somewhat cryptic.

John 6:63 . .The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

Spirit words oftentimes contain hidden meanings not easily discerned by human intelligence.

1Cor 2:13-15 . .We speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Jesus' spirit words were not well-received by the audience that day.

John 6:66 . . From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

Well; no surprise there. The reason they gave up on Jesus was simply because they were listening to his spirit words with human ears instead of hearing them with ears provided by God; ergo:

John 6:63-65 . .There are some of you who do not believe. This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.

In order to get in on the Father's enabling, people must first be confident that Jesus' teachings are reliable.

John 6:67-69 . . You do not want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the twelve. Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.

That was easily the wisest decision Peter ever made. Though he didn't have a clue what Jesus was talking about at first, our guy was confident that Jesus was the voice of God. That's a really, really good place to start with Christ.

John 12:49 . . I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

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John 15:1 . . I am the true vine

There are other vines, but not all are true; for example: Islam's Mohammad, and Buddhism's Siddhartha Gautama, and Hinduism's whoever.

John 15:4-6 . . Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

I think it's safe to assume that every religion that's based on Christianity and the Bible counts as a branch, even the cultish ones; for example: Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Science, and LDS. Well those branches are dead to God, i.e. dead wood, so off to the bon fire they must go.

John 15:1-3 . .My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Ironically those dead woods quote the Bible, but then they put their own spin on it; so beware of that.

Gal 1:6-9 . . I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

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Rev 22:16 . . I am the offspring of David

The Greek word translated "offspring" is genos (ghen'-os) which basically refers to kin, viz: one's relatives.

Christ's kinship with David is quite a bit more specific in Rom 1:1-3 where it says:

"Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh"

The Greek word translated "seed" in that passage is sperma (sper'-mah) which is a bit ambiguous because it can refer to spiritual progeny as well as to biological progeny; for example:

Gal 3:29 . . If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed.

That seed is obviously spiritual progeny; whereas David's is biological because it's "according to the flesh" i.e. his physical human body.

Seeing as Jesus' dad Joseph played no role in his son's conception, and his wife was a virgin at the time, then Jesus' physical connection to David defaults thru his mother, i.e. Mary was related to David; which places her baby in David's tribe; the tribe of Judah. (Heb 7:14)

This fact may be somewhat insignificant to most Gentiles-- other than their interest in Christ's connection to Abraham's promises --but Jesus' physical connection to David is extremely important to the Jews because in order to validate Jesus' right to rule over the land of Israel, he absolutely must be biologically situated in the Davidic dynasty: no getting around it. (2Sam 7:8 17 and Ps 89:3-4)

FAQ: From whence did baby Jesus obtain a Y chromosome for his male gender?

A: In the beginning, God constructed Eve's entire body with some material taken from Adam's body, so I'd imagine it would be no more difficult for God to construct a teensy little Y chromosome for baby Jesus with some material taken from Mary's body.

The beauty of it is that a Y chromosome constructed with material taken from Mary's body would not be an alien substance created ex nihilo; but would be 100% natural, and easily traceable all the way back to Eve, and from thence to the very dust that was used to construct Adam's body.

I can't prove any of this of course, but nevertheless I sincerely believe that what I suggest herein actually took place when the power of the Most High overshadowed Jesus' mom per Luke 1:35; and if my suggestion is true, then little Jesus was thoroughly a Jew from top to bottom-- biologically descended from not only David, but also Adam, the Man that God created in the book of Genesis.

Heb 2:17 . . He had to be made like his brethren in every way

NOTE: Most Christians will readily attest that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully Man; while in reality a number of them believe he was some sort of divine hominid implanted in Mary's uterus; i.e. they honestly believe Jesus' mom was his surrogate mother rather than his biological mother._

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Mark 14:61-62 . . Again the high priest was questioning him, and saying to him: Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed?" And Jesus said: I am;

The connection between the Christ (a.k.a. Messiah) and the son of the Blessed (a.k.a. God) wasn't something new and unusual. The connection was already well-known; not just among Judaism's elite, but also among ordinary pew warmers too.

So; how did they know? Who told them that Messiah would be the son of God rather than just another nondescript son? For example:

"I said: You are all sons of the Most High." (Ps 82:6)

In a nutshell: It was believed that all kings of the Davidic dynasty were each in their turn the son of God in a special way. For example David (Ps 89:27) Solomon (2Sam 7:12-14) and all the others (Psalm 2 and Psalm 45)

NOTE: The Hebrew equivalent to Christ is mashiyach (maw-shee'-akh) which simply means anointed-- i.e. divine appointment to a throne --and isn't limited to Jewish monarchy, e.g. Cyrus (Isa 45:1)

So then, Jesus admitted that he was indeed the son of God; and by doing so laid claim to the Davidic monarchy-- not only in the presence of the high priest, but also commoners and the Roman official governing Israel at that time.

John 4:25-26 . .The woman said: I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us. Then Jesus declared: I, who speaks with you, am he.

John 18:37 . . Pilate said: You are a king, then? Jesus answered: You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born. _

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Rev 22:16 . . I am the root of David

This hails way back to the eleventh and fifty-third chapters of Isaiah where there's predicted that David's root will sprout a twig that ultimately becomes a branch.

The two chapters aren't very long; and I have to say they are very much worth the reading because they tell so much about Christ: his person, his purpose, his work, and his future kingdom on earth.

Rev 22:16 . . I am the bright morning star.

By comparing Isa 14:12, Luke 10:18, and Rev 2:26-28; it can be readily deduced that the Bible's morning stars are persons wielding political power. But none are as radiant as Christ because he's the signet promised to Zerubbabel in Hag 2:21-23. In other words: Jesus wields the power of God so much so that he is in the position of God as God.

Rev 1:8 . . I am the Alpha and the Omega-- says the Lord God --who is, and who was, and who is to come: the Almighty _

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Matt 11:29a . . I am meek

( Moses was meek too. Num 12:3 )

Jesus would likely get challenged for his statement seeing as how he was very not passive while evicting merchants from the Temple area. So, if meekness isn't the opposite of anger and aggression, then what are we talking about here?

The Greek word translated "meek" is praus (prah-ooce') which means mild, defined by Webster's as gentle in nature or behavior; i.e. temperate.

Well it appears to me that Jesus is the kind of man that picks his battles carefully, and avoids getting all riled up over trifles, i.e. he's not bipolar, nor ready to fight at the drop of a hat, nor does he consider every disagreement an act of war to be won at any cost.

In other words; Jesus was self controlled, mellow, agreeable, calm, reasonable, approachable, patient, tolerant, not easily insulted, and lenient.

Non-temperate people could be characterized as moody, grudging, irritable, emotional, thin-skinned, belligerent, militant, pugnacious, brawling, defensive, confrontational, and reactive; around whom everybody has to walk on egg shells all the time to avoid setting them off.

A man mellow in demeanor should never be assumed lacking in strength, courage, conviction, or self confidence. Anybody who's studied the lives of Moses and Jesus can easily testify that neither of those men were either timid, wimpy, or vacillating.

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Matt 11:29b . . . I am humble.

Jesus didn't have a problem with conceit; defined by Webster's as excessive self-appreciation of one's own worth or virtue. In other words hubris; which often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence, accomplishments or capabilities.

For example; today Jesus is on the job as a high priest in Heaven. He didn't obtain that position by going after it as a career goal. Instead, it was an appointment rather than an accomplishment.

Heb 5:5-6 . . Christ did not glorify himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to him: You art My son, Today I have begotten you --as He says also in another passage: You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

We can trust Jesus' opinion of himself because he has been approved by a much higher critic than even the best and the brightest among us.

Matt 3:16-17 . . And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying: This is My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.

And again:

Matt 17:4-5 . . Peter said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah. While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said: This is My son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him. _

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John 8:23-24 . . You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

Jesus had a tremendous advantage over his opponents. Before coming into the world as the flesh of John 1:14, the Word was with God (John 1:1) which means his religious training and his personal experience are far more reliable, and far more advanced than theirs. Everything Jesus knew about the Father was given to him straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak, rather than from Judaism's rabbis who, even to this day, tend to disagree among themselves.

John the Baptizer said of Christ:

John 3:31-34 . . He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. I am of the earth, and my understanding is limited to the things of earth, but he has come from heaven. He tells what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! Those who believe him discover that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God's words, for God's Spirit is upon him without measure or limit.

And Christ claimed:

John 8:26 . .He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.

NOTE: According to Matt 12:42, Luke 11:31, John 1:1-14, and Col 2:3; Christ's wisdom trumps Solomon's, so beware using proof texts from Solomon's thoughts to moderate Christ. _
 

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Matt 28:20 . . And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

I would've expected Jesus to say "I will be with you" but "I am with you" is better because it assured Jesus' men that his departure forty days later would not cause an interruption in their association, viz: Jesus' accompaniment with his men is permanent and perpetual.

The Greek word translated "age" is aion (ahee-ohn') which is the very same word in the beginning of chapter 24 at verse 3 which reads:

"As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. Tell us-- they said --when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

It's been construed by some that "the end of the age" spoken of in Matt 24:3 and Matt 28:20 is the end of the world predicted at 2Pet 3:10 and Rev 21:1 but judging by Jesus' attending comments, I'm pretty sure it's limited to the space of history between when he was here last time till the day when he returns next time.

When Jesus made the promise in Matt 28:20, he had roughly 120 core supporters (Acts 1:15) and several hundred rank and file (1Cor 15:6) yet he made the promise to only the eleven apostles.

Anyway, in order for the Lord's promise to be valid, it had to include the apostles' afterlife existence seeing as how they're all gone now and the end of the age is not yet.

God made a similar promise to Jacob in the 28th chapter of Genesis which reads:

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."

That promise had to include Jacob's afterlife; which suggests a plausible explanation for Jesus' comment at Matt 22:31-32 where he said:

"But about the resurrection of the dead-have you not read what God said to you: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead but of the living."

That's a curious statement because according to Luke 16:19-31 both sides of the afterlife are conscious, but Jesus said only one of those sides contains living folks. So then, we may safely conclude that the wrong side's existence isn't a living existence; rather, it's a dead existence, i.e. dead to God, viz: Jesus spoke of two distinctly separate resurrections: one for the dead to God and one for the alive to God. I can't help but wonder if Jesus' listeners really understood what he was telling them. _
 

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John 14:6 . . I am the truth.

Before coming into the world as a creature, God's son was a divine being known as the Word (John 1:1a)

The Word is translated from the Greek noun logos (log'-os) which basically refers to something spoken as opposed to something going on in one's thoughts, viz; logos refers to voice, i.e. speech.

God's spoken words first appear in the Bible at Gen 1:3 where it says:

"Let there be light"

So we could legitimately paraphrase John 1:2 to read like this:

"All things were made by God's voice; and apart from His voice was not any thing made that was made."

Thus it's seen that God preferred to command the cosmos into existence instead of cogitating it into existence.

"By the voice of God the heavens were of old" (2Pet 3:5)

God's speech is more than sound and syllables; it is an extension of Himself, i.e. His speech is charged with an energy so powerful that it can make inert objects become alert with consciousness; e.g. John 1:4

"In God's voice was life"

Seeing as how the words that come out of God's mouth are no less divine than Himself, then I think it's valid to concur that His speech is a sentient being.

Please don't ask me how God's voice is a sentient being because it is just too far beyond the capability of my below-average IQ to comprehend.

So then, when Jesus said "I am the life" I think it safe to paraphrase him as: "I am that life", i.e. the life in God's voice; and seeing as how the life in God's voice is an extension of Himself, then we certainly cannot refuse to recognize The Word as more than just a divine being, instead, as the supreme of all beings.

1John 1:1-2 . .That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life-- for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.

So the life that's in God's voice is a sentient being who always was, always is, and always shall be. That (almost) makes perfect sense because if God always was, always is, and always shall be; then of course His voice would be no different in that respect.

The part that's difficult to grasp is how God's voice is a sentient being when the human voice is just noise; and the moment it speaks words, they fade away to nothing and can't be recalled with any more ease than recalling the ring of a bell or the toot of a horn, i.e. spoken human words are DOA (dead on arrival) and that's because the human voice isn't a sentient being.

Now, this sentient eternal being we've been examining isn't merely academic doctrine; it's a supernatural presence.

1John 5:11-12 . .God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have God's son does not have the life.

The eternal life spoken of in that verse, and in 1John 1:1-2, is of course the self same life that Jesus spoke of when he said: "I am the life". (John 11:25 and John 14:6)

If I could take some liberties here, I might paraphrase 1John 5:11-12 to read like this:

"God has given us His voice, and this voice is in His son. He who has the Son has this voice; he who does not have God's son does not have this voice."

God's voice, a.k.a. His son, a.k.a. eternal life, isn't aboard Jesus' followers by means of a physical presence, rather, a spirit presence.

Rom 8:9-10 . .You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him.
 

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John 8:57-58 . .Then the Jews said to him: you are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.

There's a better way to say that which makes it easier to take in.

"Most assuredly, I say to you: I existed before Abraham came to be."

They were correct relative to Jesus' humanity because that aspect of his person didn't exist till John 1:14.

However, what they didn't know was that Jesus pre-existed his human existence as a divine being per John 1:1-10.

It's my understanding that "I am" is grammatically present tense, indicating that Christ's divinity can't be defined by years of life because there has never been a time in the fixed frozen past, nor in the ever-liquid present, when the Word didn't and/or doesn't exist; viz: there's no point of reference for us to reckon from. (cf. 2Pet 3:8)

1John 1:1-3 . .That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-- this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

The "beginning" can be safely taken to indicate Genesis 1:1 because that's pretty much the scope of John 1:1-10.

FAQ: Shouldn't the Jews have known that their Messiah would be a divine being in human form?

A: Yes they should've known: and actually many did.

Mic 5:2 . . But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah; too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you one will go forth for me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.

The Hebrew word for "eternity" can mean a number of things, but in this case we prefer "the vanishing point in time past" viz: the days of yore.

Now; the Jews' issue wasn't with Messiah; theirs was with Jesus: they just couldn't accept that he was "the one".

Mark 14:61-64 . . Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him: Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?

. . . And Jesus said: I am; and you shall see the son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

. . .Then the high priest rent his clothes, and said: What need we any further witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy: what do you think? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. _
 

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