Who Was Jesus?

You are here

Who Was Jesus?

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×
Downloads
MP3 Audio (20.3 MB)

Downloads

Who Was Jesus?

MP3 Audio (20.3 MB)
×

Who was Jesus of Nazareth, really? He is undoubtedly one of history’s most famous figures—so famous that history is divided into the period before and after His birth (B.C., or “before Christ” and A.D., Latin Anno Domini, “the year of our Lord”). A third of the human race claims to be His followers. 

Ideas about Him have ranged all over the map for the last 2,000 years—from madman to Messiah, from Son of God to common criminal. People have wildly varying ideas about what He taught and what His mission and purpose was. Countless forests of trees have been cut down to provide the paper for the millions of books printed about Him, and tons of ink have been poured out on those pages.

But who did Jesus Himself say He was? What did He say His mission and purpose was? What did He state plainly about Himself?

Most people view Him as a wise man and teacher. However, Jesus claimed to be far more than that—more than a man, more than a teacher, more than a prophet.

He claimed to be nothing less than God in the flesh!

Let that sink in for a moment.

Does it matter if Jesus is what He claimed to be?

It’s become something of a cliché for deluded individuals to think that they are Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington or some other notable historical figure. But not many make the astounding claim that they’re God in the flesh!

Yet Jesus did. Not once, but many times. Some of those occasions were rather oblique. Some were very obvious—so obvious that those who heard were enraged and immediately wanted to kill Him for blasphemy.

Does it matter? You bet it does. If Jesus wasn’t divine, if He wasn’t who and what He claimed to be, then the Christian belief means nothing. Yes, it certainly has good principles to follow, but who would want to follow a religion based on the delusions of a liar or madman?

But if Jesus’ claims are true—that He is the Son of God and God in the flesh come to earth to live and die and live again to show us the way to life everlasting—then this is the most astounding event in human history. It demands our absolute attention. It demands that we consider the evidence. It demands that we act, for we are fully accountable for how we decide we’ll respond!

Nothing could be more important for you and your life!

Jesus’ astounding claims

So who—and what—did Jesus claim to be?

He made His boldest assertion about His identity in John 8:58 John 8:58Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am.
American King James Version×
. In one of His many debates with those who opposed Him, He stated: “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” In English this appears confusing. But Jesus was speaking Aramaic or Hebrew, and those listening understood that He was making a claim that immediately led them to try to kill Him.

What did this mean? What did Jesus say that made them want to stone Him to death for blasphemy?

If Jesus wasn’t divine, if He wasn’t who and what He claimed to be, then the Christian belief means nothing.

Abraham had lived some 2,000 years earlier. Jesus was saying not only that He existed before Abraham, but also that He was the very God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He was revealing His true identity—that He was the Being whom the Jews knew and worshipped as God in the Old Testament period!

A while after Abraham, when the great God revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush, Moses asked God what His name was. “I AM WHO I AM,” was the reply. “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:13-14 Exodus 3:13-14 13 And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say to them? 14 And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

When Jesus startled them by saying, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM,” the Jews understood exactly what He meant. “Then they took up stones to throw at Him” (John 8:59 John 8:59Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the middle of them, and so passed by.
American King James Version×
). They wanted to kill Him because in their minds He was guilty of blasphemy for claiming to be God!

When Jesus claimed to be “I AM,” He was saying that He was the God who revealed Himself to Moses and who said His name was “I AM.”

The Jews understood exactly who and what Jesus claimed to be—the One whom their nation worshipped as the God of Israel.

“I and My Father are one”

On another occasion the Jews confronted Jesus, asking, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If you are the Christ [the prophesied Messiah], tell us plainly” (John 10:24 John 10:24Then came the Jews round about him, and said to him, How long do you make us to doubt? If you be the Christ, tell us plainly.
American King James Version×
). Jesus answered, “I told you, and you do not believe” (John 10:25 John 10:25Jesus answered them, I told you, and you believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
American King James Version×
). He had previously confirmed His divine identity, as we just saw, as well as on another previous occasion (John 5:17-18 John 5:17-18 17 But Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus then added, “The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me” (John 10:25 John 10:25Jesus answered them, I told you, and you believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
American King James Version×
). These “works” were miracles that God alone could do. Jesus’ enemies couldn’t refute the miraculous deeds Jesus did, many of which are recorded in the Gospels.

Jesus then made another statement that infuriated them: “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30 John 10:30I and my Father are one.
American King James Version×
). He claimed that both the Father and He were divine. As before, there was no mistaking the intent of His statement, because “then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him” (John 10:31 John 10:31Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
American King James Version×
).

Recognizing their murderous intent, Jesus said: “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews responded, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (John 10:32-33 John 10:32-33 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do you stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone you not; but for blasphemy; and because that you, being a man, make yourself God.
American King James Version×
).

Again, they understood exactly what Jesus meant. He was clearly telling them of His divine identity, that He was God as God the Father was God.

“My Father has been working until now, and I have been working”

John’s Gospel records yet another occasion when Jesus angered the Jews with claims of divinity. This took place after Jesus healed a lame man at Jerusalem’s Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath.

According to the law of God, no work was to be done on the Sabbath. And the Jewish religious authorities were angry, because they misinterpreted the Sabbath command to include what Jesus was doing. “For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath” (John 5:16 John 5:16And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
American King James Version×
).

On this occasion, too, Jesus made a statement that they could take only one way: “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

How did they respond to His statement? “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath [according to their misguided interpretation], but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:17-18 John 5:17-18 17 But Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
American King James Version×
).

The Word was with God and was God

The Bible clearly reveals two divine Beings, God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. Yet before Jesus was begotten and born as a human being, the Bible doesn’t speak of these two beings as Father and Son. This is understandable, as they were not yet in a father-son relationship at that time.

In a dramatic vision recorded in Daniel 7, some 550 years before Jesus Christ’s birth, Daniel describes these two divine beings as “the Ancient of Days” (God the Father) and “One like the Son of Man” (who would become human as Jesus Christ, whose most common term He used for Himself was “the Son of Man”).

John 1:1-2 John 1:1-2 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God.
American King James Version×
describes a time before the world was created, when two divine Beings existed: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” Here John refers to those two Beings “the Word” and “God”—specifically stating that “the Word was God” also.

John goes on to explain who “the Word” was: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (verse 14). Obviously “ the only begotten of the Father” who “ became flesh and dwelt among us” is the Being who became Jesus Christ. And “God” In John 1:1-2 John 1:1-2 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God.
American King James Version×
is referring to the Father—though “the Word [who became Jesus Christ] was God” also.

Jesus was the Creator of all things

Immediately after stating that “the Word was God” and that “He was in the beginning with God,” John makes a startling statement: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3 John 1:3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
American King James Version×
).

John reveals that the Being who became Jesus Christ was actually the One through whom the universe was created as recorded in the book of Genesis.

Yes—astonishingly, John reveals that the Being who became Jesus Christ was actually the One through whom the universe was created as recorded in the book of Genesis! Several other Bible passages confirm this truth. Notice:

“For by Him [Jesus Christ] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17 Colossians 1:16-17 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
American King James Version×
).

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2 Hebrews 1:1-2 1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
American King James Version×
).

While God the Father is the supreme authority, it was Christ who actually did the work of creating. “God … created all things through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9 Ephesians 3:9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
American King James Version×
). Colossians 1:17 Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
American King James Version×
verifies that the Being who became Jesus Christ had to exist “before all things,” since He created “all things … that are in heaven and that are on earth.”

These passages make it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ was not only divine, but was the God who created the entire universe!

“No one has seen the Father”

But John 1 contains another astounding statement that helps us understand who and what Jesus Christ really is. John, concluding his explanation of Jesus Christ’s existence from the beginning with the Father, states: “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son … He has declared Him” (John 1:18 John 1:18No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus Christ Himself makes the same point in John 5:37 John 5:37And the Father himself, which has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
American King James Version×
: “And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.”

Jesus confirms this in John 6:46 John 6:46Not that any man has seen the Father, save he which is of God, he has seen the Father.
American King James Version×
: “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father” (New International Version).

The apostle Paul also states that no human being has ever seen the Father, speaking of “God … whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:13 1 Timothy 6:13I give you charge in the sight of God, who vivifies all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
American King James Version×
, 16).

And John, last surviving of the original apostles, says plainly that “no one has seen God at any time” (1 John 4:12 1 John 4:12No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.
American King James Version×
).

Yet the Bible specifically records that many individuals saw and heard God, among them Jacob (Genesis 32:30 Genesis 32:30And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
American King James Version×
), Moses (Exodus 3:6 Exodus 3:6Moreover he said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look on God.
American King James Version×
; Exodus 33:17-23 Exodus 33:17-23 17 And the LORD said to Moses, I will do this thing also that you have spoken: for you have found grace in my sight, and I know you by name. 18 And he said, I beseech you, show me your glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 And he said, You can not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and you shall stand on a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
American King James Version×
; Numbers 12:6-8 Numbers 12:6-8 6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream. 7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all my house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
American King James Version×
), Joshua (Joshua 5:13-15 Joshua 5:13-15 13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went to him, and said to him, Are you for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, No; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said to him, What said my Lord to his servant? 15 And the captain of the LORD’s host said to Joshua, Loose your shoe from off your foot; for the place where on you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.
American King James Version×
- Joshua 6:1-2 Joshua 6:1-2 1 Now Jericho was straightly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua, See, I have given into your hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor.
American King James Version×
), Gideon (Judges 6:12-14 Judges 6:12-14 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor. 13 And Gideon said to him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD has forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. 14 And the LORD looked on him, and said, Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent you?
American King James Version×
), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-3 Isaiah 6:1-3 1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he did fly. 3 And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
American King James Version×
) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:26-28 Ezekiel 1:26-28 26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and on the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above on it. 27 And I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. 28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.
American King James Version×
- Ezekiel 2:1-4 Ezekiel 2:1-4 1 And he said to me, Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you. 2 And the spirit entered into me when he spoke to me, and set me on my feet, that I heard him that spoke to me. 3 And he said to me, Son of man, I send you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even to this very day. 4 For they are impudent children and stiff hearted. I do send you to them; and you shall say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD.
American King James Version×
).

“God … has in these last days, spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.”

Putting all of these scriptures together—some saying that no one has ever seen God and others showing that the God of the Old Testament many times visibly appeared and audibly spoke to individuals, we are left with one inescapable fact: The God who appeared to these individuals was not God the Father, but the Being who became Jesus Christ.

This explains why John stated that “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son … He has declared Him” (John 1:18 John 1:18No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
American King James Version×
). This also helps us understand Jesus’ statement in Matthew 11:27 Matthew 11:27All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
American King James Version×
, that “no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

To summarize: No human being has ever seen God the Father. The God who appeared to various individuals in Old Testament times was actually the Being who would later come in human form as Jesus Christ. Jesus now reveals the Father to those whom He chooses and whom the Father calls (John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×
; John 6:65 John 6:65And he said, Therefore said I to you, that no man can come to me, except it were given to him of my Father.
American King James Version×
).

The apostle Paul confirms this. Writing of ancient Israel’s sojourn in the wilderness after the Exodus, he states that “they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4 1 Corinthians 10:4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
American King James Version×
) .

Where does that leave us?

Jesus’ claims as to His identity are indeed staggering. Some who heard those claims wanted to kill Him. Others were bewildered. Some put His claims to the test, followed Him, and became part of a movement that “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6 Acts 17:6And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brothers to the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come here also;
American King James Version×
). Those who were closest to Him were so convinced that they willingly followed Him down the pathway to death, never wavering in their convictions.

This understanding of who and what Jesus Christ was and is today is why His sacrifice is so enormously important. It took nothing less than the death of the Creator of all mankind to pay the penalty for all the sins of all mankind for all time!

And what is Jesus Christ today? In His last hours with His disciples before He was arrested and crucified, He prayed to His Father: “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5 John 17:5And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was.
American King James Version×
). Resurrected from the tomb, He now sits in glory at the Father’s right hand, awaiting the time of His return to earth to establish His Kingdom and to reward His faithful flock.

What about you? Do you have the courage and conviction to surrender your life to the God who not only made you, but surrendered His life for you? The choice is yours!

 

#######

The Claim of Jesus’ Disciples

The statements of those who personally knew and were taught by Jesus, and who then wrote most of the New Testament, are thoroughly consistent with Jesus’ declarations about Himself.

His disciples were monotheistic Jews. For them to agree that Jesus was God, and then to give their lives for this belief, tells us that they had come to see for themselves that the claims Jesus made about Himself were so convincing as to leave no doubt in their minds.

The first Gospel writer, Matthew, opens with the story of the virgin birth of Jesus. Matthew comments on this miraculous event with the quote from Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah 7:14Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
American King James Version×
, “ ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’ ” (Matthew 1:23 Matthew 1:23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
American King James Version×
). Matthew is making it clear that he understands that this child is God— “God with us.”

John is likewise explicit in the prologue to his Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1-14 John 1:1-14 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came to his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
American King James Version×
).

Some of the disciples called Jesus God directly. When Thomas saw His wounds, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28 John 20:28And Thomas answered and said to him, My LORD and my God.
American King James Version×
). Some view this as simply an expression of surprise. But such profane use of God’s name would have been unacceptable among the Jews of that day.

Paul refers to Jesus in Titus 2:13 Titus 2:13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;
American King James Version×
as “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Peter likewise calls Him “our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1 2 Peter 1:1Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ:
American King James Version×
).

The book of Hebrews is most emphatic that Jesus is God. Hebrews 1:8 Hebrews 1:8But to the Son he said, Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom.
American King James Version×
, applying Psalms 45:6 Psalms 45:6Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of your kingdom is a right scepter.
American King James Version×
to Jesus Christ, states: “But to the Son He [the Father] says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.’” Other parts of Hebrews explain that Jesus is higher than the angels (Hebrews 1:4-13 Hebrews 1:4-13 4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For to which of the angels said he at any time, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he brings in the first-begotten into the world, he said, And let all the angels of God worship him. 7 And of the angels he said, Who makes his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. 8 But to the Son he said, Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows. 10 And, You, Lord, in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands: 11 They shall perish; but you remain; and they all shall wax old as does a garment; 12 And as a clothing shall you fold them up, and they shall be changed: but you are the same, and your years shall not fail. 13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool?
American King James Version×
), superior to Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6 Hebrews 3:1-6 1 Why, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. 3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who has built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by some man; but he that built all things is God. 5 And Moses truly was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
American King James Version×
) and greater than the high priests (Hebrews 4:14-16 Hebrews 4:14-16 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
American King James Version×
; Hebrews 5:1-10 Hebrews 5:1-10 1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. 4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said to him, You are my Son, to day have I begotten you. 6 As he said also in another place, You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
American King James Version×
). He is greater than all these because He is God— along with the Father.

—From our free study guide Is God a Trinity?

 

#######

In What Other Ways Did Jesus Claim to Be God?

Jesus claimed to be divine in various other ways not specifically covered in this article. Let’s look at some of them.

1. Jesus claimed authority to forgive sins

When Jesus healed one paralyzed man, He also said to him, “Son, your sins are forgiven you” (Mark 2:5 Mark 2:5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the sick of the palsy, Son, your sins be forgiven you.
American King James Version×
). The scribes who heard this reasoned He was blaspheming, because, as they rightly understood and asked, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:6-7 Mark 2:6-7 6 But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why does this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
American King James Version×
).

Responding to the scribes, Jesus said: “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? … But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home” (Mark 2:8-11 Mark 2:8-11 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said to them, Why reason you these things in your hearts? 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Your sins be forgiven you; or to say, Arise, and take up your bed, and walk? 10 But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins, (he said to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say to you, Arise, and take up your bed, and go your way into your house.
American King James Version×
, New Revised Standard Version).

The scribes knew Jesus was claiming an authority that belonged to God only. Again, the Lord ( YHWH ) is the One pictured in the Old Testament who forgives sin (Jeremiah 31:34 Jeremiah 31:34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, said the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
American King James Version×
).

2. Christ claimed power to raise the dead

Jesus claimed yet another power that God alone possessed—to raise and judge the dead. Notice His statements in John 5:25-29 John 5:25-29 25 Truly, truly, I say to 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 has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.
American King James Version×
:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live…All who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”

There was no doubt about what He meant. He had said in John 11:21 John 11:21Then said Martha to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother had not died.
American King James Version×
, “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.” When Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the dead, He said to Lazarus’ sister Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25 John 11:25Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
American King James Version×
).

Compare this to 1 Samuel 2:6 1 Samuel 2:6The LORD kills, and makes alive: he brings down to the grave, and brings up.
American King James Version×
, which tells us that “the Lord [ YHWH ] kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up.”

3. Jesus accepted honor and worship

Jesus demonstrated His divinity in yet another way when He said, “All should honor the Son just as they honor the Father” (John 5:23 John 5:23That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him.
American King James Version×
). Over and over, Jesus told His disciples to believe in Him as they would believe in God. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1 John 14:1Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus received worship on many occasions without forbidding such acts. A leper worshipped Him (Matthew 8:2 Matthew 8:2And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.
American King James Version×
). A ruler worshipped Him with his plea to raise his daughter from the dead (Matthew 9:18 Matthew 9:18While he spoke these things to them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay your hand on her, and she shall live.
American King James Version×
). When Jesus had stilled the storm, those in the boat worshipped Him as the Son of God (Matthew 14:33 Matthew 14:33Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth you are the Son of God.
American King James Version×
).

A Canaanite woman worshipped Him (Matthew 15:25 Matthew 15:25Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
American King James Version×
). When Jesus met the women who came to His tomb after His resurrection, they worshipped Him, as did His apostles (Matthew 28:9 Matthew 28:9And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 28:17 Matthew 28:17And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
American King James Version×
). The demon-possessed man of the Gadarenes, “ran to meet Jesus and fell down before him” (Mark 5:6 Mark 5:6But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation). The blind man whom Jesus healed in John 9 worshipped Him (John 9:38 John 9:38And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
American King James Version×
).

The First and Second of the Ten Commandments forbid worship of anyone or anything other than God (Exodus 20:2-5 Exodus 20:2-5 2 I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
American King James Version×
). Barnabas and Paul were very disturbed when the people of Lystra tried to worship them after their healing of a crippled man (Acts 14:13-15 Acts 14:13-15 13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. 14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 15 And saying, Sirs, why do you these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach to you that you should turn from these vanities to the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
American King James Version×
). In Revelation 22:8-9 Revelation 22:8-9 8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. 9 Then said he to me, See you do it not: for I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
American King James Version×
, when John the apostle fell down to worship the angel, the angel refused to accept worship, saying, “You must not do that! … Worship God!” (Revelation 22:8-9 Revelation 22:8-9 8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. 9 Then said he to me, See you do it not: for I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
American King James Version×
, NRSV).

Yet Jesus accepted worship and did not rebuke those who chose to kneel before Him and worship.

4. Jesus’ instruction to pray in His name

Jesus not only tells His followers to believe in Him, but that when we pray to the Father, we are to pray in Christ’s name. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13 John 14:13And whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
American King James Version×
). Jesus made it clear that access to the Father is through Him, telling us that “no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
American King James Version×
).

The apostle Paul states of Jesus: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11 Philippians 2:9-11 9 Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
American King James Version×
).

Paul is telling us that God the Father Himself is upholding the fact that Jesus is God, by exalting His name to the level of the One through whom we make our requests and the One before whom we bow. Jesus also assures us that He will be the One who will give the answer to our prayers (“… that I will do,” John 14:13 John 14:13And whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
American King James Version×
).

In so many ways Jesus revealed Himself as the God of the Old Testament. The Jews saw Him do many things that only God would or could do. They heard Him say things about Himself that could only apply to God. They were angered and responded with outrage and charged Him with blasphemy. They were so infuriated by His claims that they wanted to kill Him on the spot.

5. Jesus’ special relationship with God

Jesus understood Himself to be unique in His close relationship with the Father in that He was the only One who could reveal the Father. “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27 Matthew 11:27All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
American King James Version×
).

Dr. William Lane Craig, author of many books and articles defending Christian belief, says this verse “tells us that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God in an exclusive and absolute sense. Jesus says here that his relationship of sonship to God is unique. And he also claims to be the only one who can reveal the Father to men. In other words, Jesus claims to be the absolute revelation of God” ( Reasonable Faith, 1994, p. 246).

6. Christ’s claims to hold people’s eternal destiny

On several occasions Jesus asserted that He was the One through whom people could attain eternal life. “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40 John 6:40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×
; compare John 6:47 John 6:47Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me has everlasting life.
American King James Version×
and John 6:54 John 6:54Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×
). He not only says that people must believe in Him, but also that He will be the One to resurrect them. No mere man can take this role.

The conclusion is inescapable: Jesus understood Himself as divine along with the Father and as possessing the right to do things only God has the right to do.

—Condensed from our free study guide Jesus Christ: The Real Story