Did Jesus Christ Claim to Be God?

You are here

Did Jesus Christ Claim to Be God?

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 (15.62 MB)

Downloads

Did Jesus Christ Claim to Be God?

MP3 Audio (15.62 MB)
×

Jesus said of Himself, "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11 John 10:11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
American King James Version×
). David, in the first verse of the famous 23rd Psalm, declared that "The Lord [Yhwh] is my shepherd." Jesus claimed to be judge of all men and nations (John 5:22-27 John 5:22-27 [22] For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son: [23] That 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. [24] Truly, truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life. [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.
American King James Version×
). Yet Joel 3:12 Joel 3:12Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
American King James Version×
says the Lord [Yhwh] "will sit to judge all . . . nations."

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12 John 8:12Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
American King James Version×
). Isaiah 60:19 Isaiah 60:19The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light to you: but the LORD shall be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory.
American King James Version×
says, "The Lord [Yhwh] will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory." Also, David says in Psalms 27:1 Psalms 27:1The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
American King James Version×
, "The Lord [Yhwh] is my light."

Jesus asked in prayer that the Father would return Him to divine glory: "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×
).

In Revelation 1:17 Revelation 1:17And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand on me, saying to me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
American King James Version×
Jesus says He is the first and the last, which is identical to what Yhwh says of Himself in Isaiah 44:6 Isaiah 44:6Thus said the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
American King James Version×
: "I am the First and I am the Last."

There is no question that Jesus understood Himself as the Lord (Yhwh) of the Old Testament.

When Jesus was arrested, His apparent use of the term "I AM" had an electrifying effect on those in the arresting party. "Now when He said to them, 'I am He,'they drew back and fell to the ground" (John 18:6 John 18:6As soon then as he had said to them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
American King James Version×
). Notice here that "He" is in italics, meaning the word was added by the translators and isn't in the original wording. However, their attempt to make Jesus' answer more grammatically correct obscures the fact that He was likely again claiming to be the "I  AM'" of the Old Testament Scriptures.

"I and My Father are one"

Jesus made another statement that incensed Jews of His day in John 10: "I and My Father are one" (John 10:30 John 10:30I and my Father are one.
American King James Version×
). That is, the Father and Jesus were both divine. As with declaring Himself the "I AM" in John 8, there was no mistaking the intent of what He said, 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×
).

Jesus countered: "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×
).

The Jews understood perfectly well what Jesus meant. He was telling them plainly of His divinity.

John 5 also records yet another instance in which Jesus infuriated the Jews with His claims of divinity. It happened just after He healed a crippled man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath. The Jews sought to kill Him because He did this on the Sabbath, a day on which the law of God had stated no work was to be done (which they misinterpreted to include what Jesus was doing).

Jesus then made a statement the Jews could take in only one way: "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." Their response to His words? "Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath [according to their interpretation of it], but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God" (John 5:16-18 John 5:16-18 [16] And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. [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 was equating His works with God's works and claiming God as His Father in a special way—and of course, an actual son is the same kind of being as his father.

Jesus claimed authority to forgive sins

Jesus claimed to be divine in other ways, too. When He 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 pondered, "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 then addressed 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×
, NRSV).

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×
).

Christ claimed power to raise the dead

Jesus claimed yet another power that God alone possessed—to raise 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 added in John 5:21 John 5:21For as the Father raises up the dead, and vivifies them; even so the Son vivifies whom he will.
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." Before 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×
). And He declared of each person the Father draws to Him in this age, "I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:40-54 John 6:40-54 [40] And 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. [41] The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. [42] And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he said, I came down from heaven? [43] Jesus therefore answered and said to them, Murmur not among yourselves. [44] No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. [45] It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes to me. [46] Not that any man has seen the Father, save he which is of God, he has seen the Father. [47] Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me has everlasting life. [48] I am that bread of life. [49] Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. [50] This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. [51] 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. [52] The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? [53] Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. [54] Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
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." Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:9 2 Corinthians 1:9But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raises the dead:
American King James Version×
that it is "God who raises the dead."

Jesus' special relationship with God the Father

Jesus understood Himself to be unique in His close relationship with God 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, writing in defense of 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).

He further proclaimed: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. 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×
).

Christ's claims to hold people's eternal destiny

On several occasions Jesus asserted that He was the One through whom men and women 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 verses John 6:47 John 6:47Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me has everlasting life.
American King James Version×
, 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×
). Again, as we've already seen, He not only says that people must believe in Him, but also that He will be the One to resurrect them at the end. No mere man can take this role.

Dr. Craig adds: "Jesus held that people's attitudes toward himself would be the determining factor in God's judgment on the judgment day. 'Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God' (Luke 12:8-9 Luke 12:8-9 [8] Also I say to you, Whoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: [9] But he that denies me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
American King James Version×
).

"Make no mistake: if Jesus were not the divine son of God, then this claim could only be regarded as the most narrow and objectionable dogmatism. For Jesus is saying that people's salvation depends on their confession to Jesus himself" (p. 251).

The conclusion is inescapable: Jesus proclaimed Himself to be divine along with the Father and to possess authority and prerogatives that belong only to God!

You might also be interested in...

In Genesis 1:26, God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our...