Did Jesus Claim to be God?
Blasphemy was the reason the religious leaders used to have Jesus put to death. They accused Jesus of blasphemy because He did things that only God could do, (He raised the dead and healed the sick) and He said that He and God were one. That drove the religious community crazy! If Jesus had just been a great prophet or a teacher He would not have been crucified for the sin of blasphemy. But Jesus ultimately was crucified because He claimed that He was the Son of God.
One time during His ministry Jesus stated: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:33) Of course the Pharisees got upset because they understood exactly what Jesus was claiming – deity. Jesus does not deny His claim to be God. He was saying that He and the Father are of one nature and essence. Another example was when Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58) The name “I am” was an Old Testament name for God and the Jewish leaders knew that. The response of the Pharisees who heard this statement was to take up stones to kill Jesus for blasphemy. The Mosaic Law commanded them to put to death any person who blasphemed by calling themselves God. (Leviticus 24:15).
Once when the disciples were with Jesus, Philip asked Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” (John 14:8) And Jesus answered him: “Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you for such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you know that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? The words I say to you are not just my own. It is the Father, living in Me, who is doing His work.” (John 14: 9-10)
Another time shortly after Jesus had risen from the dead He appeared in His resurrected body to the doubting Thomas. Thomas stood there stunned as Jesus asked him to not be doubting any longer but to believe. Then Jesus asked Thomas to feel the nail holes in His hands and feet. After seeing the resurrected Jesus right in front of him, Thomas dropped to his knees in amazed worship and proclaimed ; “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). And Jesus does not correct him for blaspheming but accepts his worship. Jesus also accepts worship several times in the Gospels. (Matthew 2:11, 28:9,17: Luke 24:52: John 9:38; 20:28) Never did Jesus reject such adoration. And again in Titus 2:13 we are encouraged to “wait for the coming of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1)
When Jesus was standing accused at His trial, the high priest asked Him: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Living God?” (Mark 14) And Jesus answered, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:61-62) Jesus was hearkening back to the Old Testament where the prophet Daniel states: “There came one like a Son of Man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom shall never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)
When Jesus was saying this, the High Priest immediately recognized Jesus’ claim to divinity, and he tore his robe and declared Jesus guilty of blasphemy. Jesus was identifying Himself as the Son of Man, a person who was given “dominion, glory, and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him.” (Daniel 7 and Mark 14)
Elsewhere, Jesus taught that He will ultimately judge humanity (Matthew 25:31-46) and He proclaimed that our eternal destinies depend on our response to Him (Mark 8:34-38). In addition, Jesus believed that He had the authority both to alter and even overrule several parts of the Old Testament (Mark 7:15, Matthew 5:21-22, 19:8-9)
The resurrection of Jesus is an established fact of history and is the strongest evidence for Jesus’ divinity. The evidence for this miraculous event is very powerful. Numerous sources report Jesus’ post-crucifixion appearances. (1 Cor. 15:3-7; Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:36-43: John 20:26-30: 21:1-14: Acts 1:3-6)
Jesus is not God’s Son in the sense of a human father and a son. But Jesus is God’s Son in the sense that He is God made manifest in human form (John 1:1, 14). Jesus did not have an earthly father and yes, Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant with Jesus. The angel Gabriel told Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born in you will be called the Son of God”. (Luke 1:35) Hebrews 1:3 expresses this clearly, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.”
During His trial before the Jewish leaders, the High Priest demanded of Jesus, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” (Matthew 26:63) “‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’”. (Matthew 26:64) . And of course the Jewish leaders responded by accusing Jesus of blasphemy. (Matthew 26:65-66)
A created being, an ordinary person, or even a superstar, who Jesus would be if He were not God, could not pay the price required for sin against an infinite God. Only God could pay such an infinite penalty. Only God could take on the sins of the world. (2 Cor. 5:21) and die and be resurrected, proving His victory over sin and death. So if Jesus was not God, then we would not have been able to receive salvation.
Too many times we have all heard people saying that Jesus never claimed to be God! All one needs to do is to start reading the Bible to see that that is false. So many lies have been told about Jesus! Let’s not let those lies influence us and take away our hope. Jesus asked Thomas to stop doubting and believe. And He asks us the same thing. Let’s do it.