Symbolism in the Gospel of John

The Gospel of John makes abundant use of symbolism. For instance, John states that Jesus is the “Lamb of God” (1:29, 36) and is the “bridegroom” (3:29).

Seven Metaphorical “I Am” Sayings

Jesus describes himself repeatedly with the words “I am,” which recall God’s self-designation in Exodus 3:14; Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 48:12.

“I am the bread of life”; “I am the living bread” (6:35, 51)

“I am the light of the world” (8:12; 9:5)

“I am the gate” (10:7, 9)

“I am the good shepherd” (10:11, 14)

“I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25)

“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6)

“I am the true vine” (15:1, 5)

See also 4:26; 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:6—key verses that in the Greek text use the expression “I am” (egō eimi).

Sacramental Symbols?

There are no accounts in John’s Gospel of Jesus being baptized or instituting the Eucharist, but the elements of water, bread, and wine are featured throughout the Gospel.

Obscure Symbols

Are these matters symbolic, and if so, what do they symbolize?