Daily Good News – When Jesus Forgets His Grammar

Jun 27, 2015 1040


The disciples “saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, ‘It is I; don’t be afraid” (John 6:19, 20).

When the disciples are terrified, Jesus simply says to them, “I am.” It is true that the Greek words here can be simply translated as, “It’s me.” But there are indications that Jesus has another, deeper meaning to his reassurance. This seems to be a favourite expression of Jesus. In one form or another, he uses it 45 times in the gospel of John. He even uses it when the past tense would be more correct, breaking all the rules of grammar. (See John 5:58: “Before Abraham was, I am.”)

What Jesus is doing is echoing the exclusive and absolute claim, as well as the name, of the Jehovah God of the Old Testament, “I am.”

“I am” usually requires a predicate; something to finish the meaning of the sentence: for example, “I am here”, “I am hungry.” The predicate limits the meaning. But Jesus says, “I am.” In other words, “I am all that you need; do not be afraid.”

Today we can praise the Son of God who not only breaks the rules of grammar, but who breaks all the rules of this world that can hold us back!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *