Did Jesus Christ Claim to Be God?

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MP3 Audio (15.62 MB)


Did Jesus Christ Claim to Be God?

MP3 Audio (15.62 MB)

Jesus said of Himself, "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11). 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). Yet Joel 3:12 says the Lord [Yhwh] "will sit to judge all . . . nations."

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). Isaiah 60:19 says, "The Lord [Yhwh] will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory." Also, David says in Psalm 27:1, "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).

In Revelation 1:17 Jesus says He is the first and the last, which is identical to what Yhwh says of Himself in Isaiah 44:6: "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). 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). 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).

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).

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).

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). 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).

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, 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).

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: "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, "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). 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).

Compare this to 1 Samuel 2:6, 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 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).

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).

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; compare verses John 6:47, John 6:54). 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).

"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!