- How can we claim Jesus is God when he never made the statement about himself?
- If Jesus knew there were people calling him divine, he would roll over in his grave.
- Jesus would be horrified to see us viewing him as more than a teacher, let alone deity.
This is the challenge. Jesus never claimed to be God, so why are we forcing that on the text? The fact is, it doesn’t take a scholar to see who Jesus thought he was. Following are a few examples of things Jesus said and did, as well as things Jesus permitted, which constitute direct evidence of his message that he was God. You may believe or not, but there is no doubt as to Jesus’ beliefs on the matter.
- Jesus accepted worship (Matthew 2:2, Matthew 14:33, Matthew 28:9, John 9:35-38)
- Jesus said he was the Christ (Matthew 24:5, Mark 5:23, Luke 21:8)
- Jesus said all power of God has been given to him (Matthew 28:18)
- He said he owned the angels and they obeyed him (Matthew 13, 16, etc.)
- Jesus claimed to speak as God – John 8:51
- Jesus claimed to know Abraham – John 8:56
- Jesus said “before Abraham was, I am” – Jn 8:58 (This one was not only a claim of eternality, but the phrase “I am” is a reference Jews would have understood as a claim to be God himself. See Exodus 3:14, and Isaiah 43:10 for example.)
- Other “I am” references:
“I am the light of the world” (John 8:12)
“I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
“I am the only way to the Father” (John 14:6)
“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)
“I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11)
“I am the door” (John 10:9)
“I am the living bread” (John 6:51)
“I am the true vine” (John 15:1)
“I am the Alpha and Omega” (Revelation 1:7,8)
- Jesus’ listeners clearly got the message because they said things like, “You, being a man, make yourself to be God.” (John 10:33)
- Jesus affirmed to the high priest that he was the Christ (Matthew 26:64)
- Jesus said his father was God (Matthew 11:27, among others)
- Jesus said he cast out demons by the spirit of God, and that by him the kingdom of God had come (Matthew 12:28)
- Jesus forgave sins (Matthew 9:2, Mark 2:5, Luke 5:20, Luke 7:48)
- Jesus claimed to have sent prophets (Matthew 23:34)
- When speaking to Pilate, Jesus affirmed that he was a king, but not a king of this world (John 18)
- He claimed to be greater than the temple. (Matthew 12:6)
- He identified with messianic titles such as the Messiah”, the Suffering Servant, the King of the Jews, the Son of Man, and the Lord of the Sabbath.
- Jesus blessed Peter for identifying him as the Messiah (Matthew 16:16)
- He spoke on his own authority. (“I say unto you…”, “You have heard it said… but I say…”)
- Jesus said he fulfilled the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17)
- He said he had the authority over the Holy Spirit (John 15:26)
You don’t have to believe that Jesus was God or that Jesus is God.
But it is certain that Jesus himself had this belief.