Certain things Christ said of Himself, either in formal
declaration, or incidentally, reveal His self-existence, as apart from His
relationship, either to God or to man. In certain passages He spoke out of an
eternal consciousness. Almost all the great declarations of Christ revealing
His eternal consciousness, and concerning His relationship to God, are found in
the Gospel according to John. Bishop Westcott said of this Gospel, "The
Gospel of St. John from first to last is a record of the conflict between men's
thoughts of Christ, and Christ's revelation of Himself."
The first of these statements, "I came forth, and am
come from God," is a most remarkable word, not describing a fellowship of
nearness with God, but one which is essential. The real suggestion of the
declaration, "I came forth from God," is not that He came from the
side of God, from companionship with God, as an angel might; but that He came
out of the essential mystery of the Being of God.
The declaration, "Before Abraham was, I am," was
introduced by that formula of which He occasionally made use when desiring to
fasten attention upon a subject: "Verily, verily." This moreover was
a direct and intended contrast on His part between the temporal and the
eternal. "Abraham was"; that is a term of the temporal; but before
that, "I am," which in that contrast becomes distinctly a term of the
In the last of these three passages we have a perfect
summary of the whole mission of Christ as recorded in the Gospels, "I came
out from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and
go unto the Father."
It is impossible, and unnecessary, for us to consider fully
the value of these words separately. The fact to be observed is that our Lord
referred to Himself in such a way that the implication of His references is
that of an eternal existence. It is important that we notice the persistence of
the Person, of the "I," through these passages: "I came forth,
and am come from God" ; "Before Abraham was, I am" ; "I
came out ... am come into . . . I leave . . . and go unto."
By G. Campbell Morgan.
Adapted from The Teaching of Christ, Himself, by G. Campbell