Anyone who said “I am the bread of life” or “I am the good shepherd” would normally be considered to be self-inflated and proud, or worse, a madman. So why does Christ do it? Charles Spurgeon writes in his sermon “The rose and the lily”:
Our Lord when he thus praises himself doubtless does so for an excellent reason, namely, that no one can possibly reveal him to the sons of men but himself. …until our Emmanuel reveals himself within the recesses of the heart, the soul sees him not. If you would see the sun, would you light your candles? ….No, the wise man knows that the sun must reveal itself and only by its own blaze can that mighty lamp be seen.
As well as revelation, Spurgeon goes on to list several other reasons why Christ should reveal himself like this.
1. Doubtless, he commends himself because high thoughts of Christ will enable us to act consistently with our relations to him. The saved soul is espoused to Christ.
2. Moreover, our Master knows that high thoughts of him increase our love. Men will not readily love that which they do not highly esteem. Love and esteem go together. …If we are to love him at all, it must be with the love of admiration; and the higher that admiration shall rise, the more vehemently will our love flame forth. My brethren and sisters in Christ, I beseech you think much of your Master’s excellencies. Study him in his primeval glory, before he took upon himself your nature! Think of the mighty love which drew him from his starry throne to die upon the cross of shame! Consider well the omnipotent affection which made him stretch his hands to the nails and yield his heart to the spear! Admire him as you see him conquering in his weakness over all the powers of hell, and by his suffering, overthrowing all the hosts of your sins, so that they cannot rise against you any more forever! See him now risen, no more to die; crowned, no more to be dishonored; glorified, no more to suffer! Bow before him, hail him in the halls of your inner nature as the Wonderful, the Counselor, the mighty God within your spirits, for only thus will your love to him be what it should.