Jesus Speaking in First person and Third Person language
Jesus spoke and was quoted all through the New Testament. Sometimes he was very direct in His message, and other times he spoke in parables. It is often in parable-like language that he was using a grammatical type of speaking that today we call, “Third Person language” or “illeism.” This can be confirmed at the end of a three chapter delivery of Christ (John 14, 15 & 16) when he said in John 16:25 – “These thing have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.” The disciples confirmed this and understood it as they replied in verse 29, “His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.”
First person examples:
It is obvious and easy to tell when Jesus is speaking in “First Person language”. It is a direct communication that leaves nothing to guess. He speaks of himself as “I”, “me”, “my”, “own”, “myself” in the following verses.
John 4:14 - But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
John 5:24, 30-32,34,5:46-47 - Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. v30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. v31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. v32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true..... v34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. v46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. v47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
John 6:32-33 - Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
John 6:35, 38-39, 47-48, 51, 54 – And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. v38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. v39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. v47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. v48 I am that bread of life. v51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. v54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 8:12 - Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John 14:14, 18, 21 – If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. v18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. v21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Now lets see what happens when Jesus is speaking about himself in “Third Person language”. For some reason people get tripped up on this. This is a grammatical type of language used more common than you would think. Jesus is speaking about himself as if he had “ANOTHER” of himself standing before him and whoever he is conducting his conversation with.
Third person examples:
Here Jesus is speaking about himself as “the Son”, the “Son of man”, “he”, “his”, “him”, “himself”, “Son of God” which in the context is “Third person language”. The words, “Son of man” are in the New Testament 84 times. And almost everyone of them is Jesus speaking about himself as an illeism, or third person language. If you can understand this, the parable in John 14 thru 16 will come to life!
Matthew 16:27, 28 - For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. v28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Matthew 25:31 - When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Mark 8:38 - Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (“me”, “my” is in the first person; “Son of Man”, “he”, “his” is in third person language)
Mark 9:31 - For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
Mark 14:41 - And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Mark 14:62 - And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Luke 5:24 - But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
Luke 6:5 - And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.
Luke 18:8 - I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
John 1:51 - And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
John 3:13, 14 - And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. v14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
John 3:16-18 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. v17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. v18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 5:19-23 – “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”
John 5:25-27 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”
Combined First Person and Third Person verses:
John 6:40, 46, 53 - And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. v46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. v53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (“I”, first person; “he”, “him”, “his”, “the Son”, “Son of man” is third person.)
John 8:28 - 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. (“I”, “me”, "my" and “myself” are first person; “Son of man” and “he” are third person.)
John 14:16 - And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. (“I” is first person; “another Comforter” and “he” is third person.)
Back to third person language only:
John 14:17 - Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Now imagine If Jesus were to speak in First Person language in John 3:16-18, it would look very different. Compare this with the actual Scripture as it was written.
‘For God so loved the world, that he gave ME, the only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth ME should not perish, but have everlasting life. v17 For God sent not ME into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through ME might be saved. v18 He that believeth on ME is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of ME the only begotten Son of God.‘