A. This question is usually posed and then answered by those who
are trying to debunk Christianity. The answer they want their listeners to believe is that Jesus never claimed to be God, that Jesus being God is merely a myth that grew up around Jesus after His death. They certainly have a point that Scripture never records Jesus mouthing the words, “I am God.” Nevertheless, did Jesus use any other words to claim to be God?
Yes, Jesus most certainly made many and varied claims to being God. If I cite even some of these passages, I will have proved that the gainsayers are wrong and are trying to read their bias into Scripture:
1. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). If the Father is God, and Jesus and the Father are one, the inescapable conclusion is that Jesus is God. Jesus’ stating that He and the Father are one was the same as stating that He is God.
By the way, Jesus was not committing a theological error and confusing the Father and the Son. Jesus and the Father can be one and still be distinct Persons. Jesus was drawing upon the language of Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, Israel: the LORD is our God. The LORD is one.” In other words, Jesus named two Persons—Himself and the Father (He could also have identified the Holy Spirit but happened not to have)—and said they are one God.
2. Jesus often claimed God as His Father, which implies that Jesus is also God. The New Testament contains many places where Jesus calls God His Father (for example, see John 5:17, 19-47; 8:54). The Pharisees rightly understood that this validly implied that Jesus also had to be God. We read of this in John 5:18: “For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” Thus, Jesus’ declaration that God was His Father was the same as Jesus’ claiming to be God.
3. Jesus did not deny Thomas’s direct confession of Him as God: “Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!'” (John 20:28). Instead of saying, No, no, Thomas, don’t call me God, He said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed” (verse 29). Jesus’ acceptance of Thomas’s claim that He was God was a claim by Jesus to be God.
4. Jesus accepted worship. In Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9, John tells us of two incidents where he was so awed by angels that he fell down to worship them. In both instances, the angels corrected him and told him not to do it. Yet, from His infancy to after his Resurrection, Jesus accepted worship.
“they fell down and worshipped him” (Matthew 2:11)
“a leper came to him and worshipped him” (Matthew 8:2)
“Those who were in the boat came and worshipped him” (Matthew 14:33)
“they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped Him” (Matthew 28:9)
“But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord'” (Luke 5:8)
“He said, ‘Lord, I believe!’ and he worshipped him” (John 9:38)
5. Jesus said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM” (John 8:58). If you are skeptical of Jesus claiming to be God, please tell me how Jesus could use the term “I AM” for Himself that God used to describe Himself to Moses (Exodus 3:14) and not mean to say that He is God? Further, how could Jesus place Himself outside of time and express that He is eternal by saying “before Moses…I AM,” and not imply that He is God?
This is ample evidence that Jesus did, indeed, claim to be God, and He made good His claim by publicly dying, rising from the dead, and then being seen my many. Those who deny this are condemning themselves by denying their only hope of salvation.
Before ending, I want to address the contention by some that Paul never said that Jesus was God. If I showed only one place that he did, it would disprove their claim. I will show three:
“Take heed, therefore, to yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the assembly of the Lord and God which he purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Some Greek texts do not have “Lord.” Even without that word, however, a literal rendering of the Greek says, “Take heed then to yourselves, and to all the flock! in which the holy spirit placed you as overseers, to tend the assembly of God, which he procured through his own blood.” Who procured the assembly with His own blood? God. Since we know from many other Scriptures that Jesus shed His blood for us, this verse makes Jesus to be God.
In Colossians 2:9, Paul, writing of Jesus, says, “For in him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily.” How does all the fullness of the Godhead dwell bodily in someone who is not God? Surely, this is Paul saying that Jesus is God.
In Titus 2:13, Paul says we should be “looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” From both context and Greek syntax (there is only one article), Paul is saying that Jesus Christ is our great God and Savior.
So, while there are people who allege that Paul never said that Jesus was God, I have just given three Scriptures in which he does exactly that.
“Whoever denies the Son, the same doesn’t have the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.”
1 John 2:23
Copyright © 2016 Peter Ditzel. Permissions Statement. Unless otherwise noted, Bible references are from the World English Bible (WEB).