of the Spirit
1 John 4:3
1 John 5:20
The problem occurs when verse 28 is pulled out of its context. To properly understand what Jesus said in verse 28 one needs to read the preceding verses:
John 8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. 25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. 27 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. 28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
Verse 23 is crucial to a proper understanding of what Jesus was referring to when he later uses the phrase "I am." In verse 23, Jesus introduces the first of a series of three "I am" statements. Jesus starts by stating, "I am from above." It would only be natural that when Jesus subsequently uses "I am" in verses 24 and 28 that he is referring back to the original "I am from above" statement in verse 23. Therefore the context needs to be considered in order to better understand what the subsequently abbreviated "I am" statements are referring to.
One must keep in mind Jesus' "I am from above" statement in verse 23 when he later states, "Ye will die in your sins…if ye believe not that I am." In other words, Jesus was warning the Jews, "Ye will die in your sins…if ye believe not that I am from above (i.e., from my Father)… When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am from above (i.e., from my Father)." Rather than declaring that he was God, Jesus was warning the Jews that he had been sent by God ("from above" v. 23).
It is important not to yank Jesus' "I am" statements out of their context. Jesus did not claim to be God, but rather, God's Son as the prophet declares in Psalm 2, anointed and sent by God, speaking and acting as His Father instructed. We can see this by the additional statements made by Jesus in the very same chapter as the "I am" statements. These include: