John uses many symbols in his Gospel in order to teach about God the Father, God the Son, and the sacraments. In order to teach about his Christology, John uses Jesus’ “I Am” statements and the symbols found in these statements, which are found in John’s Gospels. John also uses the symbols of bread and light, which are found in two of Jesus’ “I Am” statements, to teach about the sacraments.
Christology is the branch of theology that tells about Jesus Christ’s role and his nature. This is taught in John’s Gospels with Jesus’ “I Am” statements. These statements are Jesus’ answer to the question he asks himself, “Who do you say I am?” and are Jesus’ declaration to who he truly is. In verse 35 of chapter 6 of John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” Jesus says that he is the bread of life, and whoever comes to him and believes in him will never go hungry or thirsty; Jesus is saying that whoever follows him will be provided with the nutrients and resources to survive. Jesus is saying that with him, we will not need anything else but the basic necessities of live, food and water, and we will always be satisfied with Jesus Christ. With Jesus Christ, we will not go spiritually hungry or thirsty because since Jesus is “the bread of life,” we will always be nourished with his love and eternal life.
The symbol of bread in this “I Am” statement from John’s Gospel also teaches about the sacraments. Bread is an essential and basic dietary food, and you can survive with just bread and water for a long time because it is substantial and nourishing. Jesus says he is the bread because he is saying that he is nourishing and will provide for all that we need when we follow and trust in him. Bread is present in the sacraments of Eucharist. When we receive Communion, we receive the body of Christ, the Eucharist, for the first time. This sacrament is when we accept Jesus’ body, his bread/the Eucharist, which shows that we are accepting Jesus’ nourishment, and we remember Jesus’ sacrifice. Each time we receive the Eucharist at Mass each Sunday, we are reminded of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and his body is the bread we all share in together as one Church. When we receive the Eucharist, we share in the thanksgiving of Jesus’ sacrifice and for all that God has done for us. In John’s Gospel, he uses Jesus’ “I Am” statement of “I am the bread of life” to teach about Jesus, both what and who he is. The symbol of bread found in this “I Am” statement allows John to also teach about the sacrament of Eucharist. By knowing that Jesus is the bread of life, we are taught that he is nourishing and when we receive the Eucharist, we become nourished with the love of God and we are reminded of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for the sake of our lives and to forgive our sins.
John also teaches about Jesus Christ in the “I Am” statement in verse 12 of chapter 8 of John’s Gospel. In this verse, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” By saying that he is the light of the world, Jesus is saying that whoever follows him will never walk in darkness, and they will walk only n light. Jesus is telling us that he will bring us out of the darkness and into the light. Since Jesus is the light, if we follow him we will be protected from the darkness because the light of Christ will protect us. Jesus calls himself “the light of the world,” which tells us that he is protective and guiding, and that all who follow him will be protected and guided by him because he is the light, which leads the way for us to achieve eternal life and happiness.
Jesus’ “I Am” statement of “I am the light of the world” also teaches about the sacrament of Baptism with its symbol of light. The sacrament of Baptism is the sacraments of Christian initiation and is when we are welcomed as members into the Church and the faith, whether we are baptized as infants or as adults. The symbol of light shows that when we receive the sacrament of Baptism, we also receive the light of Christ because we begin to follow Christ and therefore we are guided and protected by his light. When we are baptized, the light of Christ replaces the darkness in our lives. Jesus shows us the way to eternal life and faith. The symbol of light from Jesus’ “I Am” statement is seen in Baptism with the presence of candles. Each person who is baptized receives a candle; each person’s candle is lit when the priest says, “receive the light of Christ.” When we are baptized, we receive the light of Christ. This light enables us to be guided in the Catholic faith and be protected by the darkness, such as temptation and sin, because we have the light of Christ. When we are baptized, we become enlightened by Christ and are told to always walk as children of the light. John’s use of Jesus’ “I am the light of the world” statement in his Gospel teaches about how and why Jesus is the light of the world, and it also teaches us about the sacrament of Baptism because we receive the light of Christ and become members of the Church, and we begin walking as children of the light, the light of Christ.
John’s Gospel incorporates Jesus’ “I Am” statements in order to teach about Jesus Christ. The statements “I am the bread of life” and “I am the light of the world” teach about the nature and role of Christ. They also contain the symbols of bread and light, which teach about the sacraments of Eucharist and Baptism. Through the use of symbols and statements from Jesus that declare who he is, we are taught about who Jesus is and how he is present in the sacraments along with God.