1-Jesus saying “I am”:
From Sheikh Ahmed Deedat’s work; may Allah Almighty rest his soul and grant him Paradise (Ameen):
It is claimed that Jesus used the words, “I am”, and since these same words were used by God to describe Himself to the people in the Old Testament, Jesus was claiming to be God. John 8:58, is presented to back this claim. In the verse, Jesus says: ” Before Abraham was I am. (John 8:58)” Now, if Jesus existed before Abraham did, that might be a remarkable thing, but does that prove that he was God?
How many people existed before Abraham? The Bible presents Jeremiah as being a prophet before he was conceived in his mother’s womb; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. (From the NIV Bible, Jeremiah 1:5)” Yet no one says that his pre-human existence qualifies him for deity. In Exodus chapter 3, God allegedly says: “I am what I am.” Long before the time of Jesus, there existed a Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint. The key word, “I am,” in Exodus which is used by Christians to prove the deity of Jesus is translated as “HO ON.” However, when Jesus uses the word in John 8:58 the Greek of the “I am,” is EGO EIMI. If Jesus wanted to tell the Jews that he was claiming to be God he should have at least remained consistent in the use of words or the whole point is lost. How many people in that age would have said “I am,” in answer to questions in everyday life. Billions. Are they all gods? Of course not !.
2- So why did the Jews try to kill Jesus for saying “I am”? Wasn’t he claiming to be the Creator of the Universe?
The answer to this question is in this verse:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. (From the NIV Bible, Matthew 23:37)”
The Jews are known to kill the Prophets of GOD Almighty. That’s a given fact that was confirmed by Jesus peace be upon him in Matthew 23:37. Jesus doesn’t have to claim to be GOD Almighty to trigger them to kill him. Him being a Prophet of GOD Almighty or claiming to be a Prophet from GOD Almighty — that alone is enough for the Jews to attempt to kill him. Jesus did say before that he was GOD Almighty’s Prophet/Messenger:
” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. (From the NIV Bible, John 4:34)”
” “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. (From the NIV Bible, John 5:24)”
“So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. (From the NIV Bible, John 8:28)”
” “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (From the NIV Bible, John 14:28)”
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. (From the NIV Bible, Matthew 10:39-41)”
“And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (From the NIV Bible, Luke 10:15-16)”
There are a lot more verses like the ones above that I can provide that clearly prove that (1) GOD Almighty is above Jesus; and (2) Jesus is GOD Almighty’s Messenger. But I believe that the above verses are sufficient enough to prove the point. So when Jesus said “I am” (different from GOD Almighty’s Hebrew “I am” in the Old Testament as shown above in the first section), he meant to say that he was GOD Almighty’s Messenger, and not GOD Almighty Himself.
and God knows best..