One of the most common objections skeptics raise to the deity of Christ is the idea that Jesus never actually claimed to be God. Sure the church ended up worshiping Him as such, but this was a later development that was projected onto Jesus but wasn’t something He intended to claim for Himself….or so the argument goes.
If you are expecting to find a Bible verse in which Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives and proclaims in English, and every other known language, “I am God!” You won’t find it. He actually did one better….but we’ll save that for the end.
Biblically, there are several ways to know that Jesus is God. He accepted worship, possessed all the eternal attributes of God, did things only God can do, and was given titles of deity. (Those are all great subjects for future blog posts.)
But Jesus did also CLAIM to be God, and here are 3 times He did just that:
After His arrest, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish court. The high priest asked him point blank: “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus replied, “I am…and all of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Reading with modern eyes, it looks as if Jesus is simply claiming to be a “son of man”—not God Himself. But when set within its cultural and biblical context, Jesus was making a reference to a prophecy in the book of Daniel. This not only identified Him as the “Son of Man” predicted in chapter 7, but the eternal Sovereign Lord of all, who will return to judge the very court in which He now stood trial. When seen in the light of Psalm 110, Jesus was claiming to sit on the very throne of Israel’s God.
Still fuzzy? It wasn’t to the biblically literate Jews who heard him make these claims. In fact, Jesus’ claim to be God was considered blasphemy, and according to Leviticus 24:16, blasphemy was punishable by death. The high priest acknowledged his understanding of this by tearing his robes and calling for Jesus’ execution. (Mark 14:63-65)
One day, Jesus was walking around the temple complex and was surrounded by some Jews who wanted to know if He was the Messiah. After identifying God the Father as “greater than all,” He said, “The Father and I are one.”
Through modern eyes, this could look like Jesus was simply saying that He and God had some kind of special connection—that they were really “in sync.” But when seen through the eyes of ancient Jews, Jesus was actually claiming to be of the same essence and nature as God Himself.
We only need to look at the reaction of the Jews to know that they understood what Jesus was saying. They immediately picked up stones to stone Him for “blasphemy,” saying, “because you, a mere man, claim to be God!”
While having a heated argument with some Judeans about their relationship to Abraham, they asked Jesus in verse 53, “Who do you think you are?” To this Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” I AM. This is Jesus’ most explicit claim to deity.
Modern eyes might read this and think, I am…. what? Rewind over a thousand years to Exodus 3, where we find Moses standing face to face with a bush engulfed in flames. From within the bush, God calls Moses and unmistakably identifies Himself: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses asks for God’s actual name, God answers, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘ I AM has sent me to you.'”
When Jesus identified Himself as “I am,” He was not only claiming to be God, but the very God of the Old Testament: The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Of course, the Jews understood exactly what He was claiming, and once again, picked up stones to execute Him for blasphemy.
Jesus was an intentional and articulate communicator and there was no ambiguous language in His claims to deity. The people to whom he was speaking were not confused—they got the message.
Three times He claimed to be God, and three times they wanted Him dead for it.
Alisa Childers is a former CCM recording artist, turned Mama Bear apologist! She LOVES when people act like she has no idea what she’s talking about because she’s “just a musician.” You can see more writing by Alisa at www.alisachilders.com
You are Factually Incorrect. Yeshua Never Once Claimed Godship. Not ONCE/// The Synoptic Gospels Don’t Mention it, The Writing’s of Saul Don’t Mention it Either… This is a Lie… Only The Gospel of John does it say that…..
Unfortunately, you are confusing “God” with “Messiah.” Messiah is most certainly not God but a mortal being from the House of David that the Jews await.
Jesus had absolutely no idea that he was God. Jesus asked Peter who he thinks he is: Matt 16:16-17: Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” IF EVER there was a chance for Jesus to claim he was God or a member of a Trinity, surely that would have been a fine time to do so!
Of course, in different passages of the OT, “messiah” can refer to a couple of different ppl or groups. Famously Isaiah 45:1 calls Cyrus His anointed one or “messiah” same word. But the Jewish messianic expectations did not come to an end after they read the scroll of Isaiah! In fact, they still wait for their Messiah. So it becomes clear that there is an expectation of a particular “king Messiah” who will save Israel, who fits a set of criteria. What is the identity of this anointed king? This is a big conversation involving many passages of scripture, and it’s evident there wasn’t total agreement in Jesus’ day about who the Messiah really was. Would the king Messiah be God? Isaiah 9 would seem to indicate that: “he shall be called wonderful counsellor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace.”
Interestingly, Jesus himself engages this very question! Consider his reply and decide for yourself what you read here.
Matthew 22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied. 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,
44 “ “The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” “
45 If then David calls him ‘Lord’, how can he be his son? 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Some other thoughts from Matthew specifically:
– the transfiguration? Mat 17:1-9 (His clothes become pure glowing white and the father declares “this is my Son”)
– Mat 11:27 “No one knows the father but the Son, or the Son but the father” (exclusive son-father knowledge described)
– Mat 9:13 “i desire mercy not sacrifice” (quotes God in the OT as though he personally is repeating it)
Mat 5:18, 7:28-29 (Taught with authority, saying “I tell you” not “God tells you”.. people are shocked by this in the text)
– mat 5:17 (came to fulfill the law and the prophets – wowza!)
– Mat 12:8 (the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath! Rules the seventh day when God rested, the holy day)
– Mat 11:28-29 (offers the jewish people ‘rest for their souls’ if they come TO HIM)
Anyway there’s some stuff to chew on. Peace!
Plus he says it clearly in John, “I Am”
He said before Abraham was, I AM. That’s claiming to be God. If you can’t understand that, then I can’t help you. However you’re pushing out a very weak argument. Come on give Jesus a chance, if it doesn’t work out the devil will always take you back. So don’t worry you’ll have a home either way.
If Jesus had been criss-crossing Judea and Galilee claiming to be Yahweh, the Creator, why did no one accuse him of this “blasphemy” when he was brought before the Sanhedrin?
The truth is, while Jesus probably claimed to be the Messiah, and that is what got him killed, there is no good evidence in the Synoptic Gospels that he ever claimed to be God.
Well. Thank you for this blog. I was looking for the details of what the la said about blasphemy. It hit me, full-on today. God/Jesus wrote into the law that claiming to be God (blasphemy) was punished by death. He wrote His death into the law!! All those years before. It was impossible for the Messiah NOT to die. Because the law requires the one claiming to be God to be put to death- and the Messiah was God.
Is this making sense?
This is so beautiful to me.
The Messiah IS NOT GOD. The predicted Messiah was to be a human, born of the seed of David. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost.