RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today
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The Names of Jesus
The 'I ams'...
Jesus spent 3 years meeting and teaching people. When he died, he left a devoted group of a few hundred followers. Today, 2 billion people worldwide call themselves Christians. What makes Jesus so central to Christians’ lives today? For many, he is seen in the words he used to describe himself in the book of John.
I am 'the Bread of Life'
In John 6: 35, we read that Jesus is 'the Bread of Life.' Bread was an important part of peoples' diet in ancient Israel. It was seen as essential for everyone, providing sustenance and supporting a healthy life. This is seen as a parallel to what Jesus provides in terms of spiritual support and sustenance.
I am 'the Light of the World
John 8:12 tells us that Jesus is 'the Light of the World.' Jesus has come as a guide and to support all of humankind in a world lost in darkness.
I am 'the Gate for the Sheep'
In John 10:7 we read that Jesus is the 'Gate for the Sheep.' This is to show that he protects people, like a shepherd protects his flock of sheep. Anyone who enters through Jesus will find a safe place, one where they can rest and be saved.
I am 'the Resurrection and the Life'
John 11:25 shows us Jesus is the way to eternal life; death is not the end for those who believe in him.
I am 'the Good Shepherd'
In John 10:11, Jesus says he is 'the Good Shepherd.' Like shepherds cares for and tends their flock, protecting from any dangers, so it is that Jesus cares for us.
I am 'the True Vine'
John 15:1 tells that Jesus is 'the True Vine.' which means that when Christians are connected to Jesus they will produce much fruit, such as caring for people, bringing the Kingdom of God to earth.
In John 14:6 we read, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’ who brings people to God the Father.'
For Christians, Jesus makes it possible for people to know God. Christians believe that when Jesus died, he took the punishment for all of their individual sins (the things they have done wrong). These stopped them from being able to have a relationship with God. Jesus’ death brings ‘eternal life’ – a life spent knowing God here on earth, and eternity after death in heaven. What Jesus did on the cross is one of the most important themes in Christian worship.
I am 'the Truth'
Millions of people around the world want to live their lives in a way that will please God. Jesus said that the way to honour God was to do as he, Jesus, taught. This is a very big claim – to know what God wants of people! But Christians trust in Jesus’ words and make decisions every day based on what he said and did.
I am 'the Life'
Jesus claimed that what he said and did brought life to people. This doesn’t just mean life after death in heaven. It also means life before death. By following Jesus’ teachings, Christians throughout history have done many good things that have changed the world. Lots of changes in our society, particularly those around caring for people better, were prompted by Christians who chose to follow the example of Jesus in being ‘good news’ to the poor and needy, the sick, the friendless, and those in prison. And we can see the effects of their work in our world today.