Did Jesus Ever Claim To Be God?
The short answer is: YES HE DID.
There are actually numerous references in the Bible of Jesus showing Himself to be divine. If you would like to read one example for yourself right now, go to John 8. Please read the whole chapter to see and understand it in context.
Anyone who claims that Jesus never claimed to be God has never read the Bible nor understood it’s message. Does Jesus have to say it in those exact words, “I am God?” Think about this. Would anyone really take seriously the words of a man who comes in the desert and say , “I am God.”? People would call him a lunatic.
Jesus may not have said those exact words but He showed it and proved it in many way. If I point to a woman standing next to me and say, “This is my wife”, would you say, “You never said, ‘I am married.’ If you don’t say it in those exact words, it doesn’t count.”
Now if you’re ready to take a more detailed look at Jesus’ claims to be God, let’s explore further.
First of all, Did Jesus THINK He Is God?
Whenever any of the prophets in the past spoke they always said: “This is what the Lord God says…” or “Thus says the Lord…”, etc. They knew they that they only ought to speak what God told them to. But whenever Jesus spoke, He said, “I say to you…” or “I tell you the truth….. ”
Never once did Jesus say, “This is what God says…” like all the prophets before Jesus.
In Matthew 7:28-29 – “When Jesus had finished speaking, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”
We get a clue to Jesus’ thinking, by how He referred to Himself. The most common titles He acknowledged for Himself are:
i. Son of Man
ii. Son of God.
Notice I said these were TITLES. Some mistakenly imagine that “Son of God” is a biological description. That is wrong. “SON OF MAN” and “SON OF GOD” are titles for Jesus, describing His spiritual position.
If we go down to the very basics, Son of Man means “man” and Son of God means “God”; meaning Jesus was fully man and fully God. In other words, He is God that had come in the form of a man.
The gospel tells us that our Creator has become our Redeemer. Because this conviction is the central theme of Christianity, denying the deity of Jesus Christ places a dagger into the heart of the Christian message.
– J. I. Packer
Jesus acknowledged being the “Son of God.” Again, this title does not mean Jesus is God’s biological Son. The title “Son of God” refers to likeness, or having the same divine essence and characteristics. Jesus was asserting His deity and His equality with God.
Question: But there were others who were referred to as sons of God. e.g. David, Adam, etc. Was David and Adam also God?
Answer: No. Clearly, David never thought he was God, neither did Adam. SON means a spiritual relationship. As a believer and a follower of Jesus, I too am a son of God. That does not make me God. I know and understand that sonship is a position of special relationship with God, my Father.
Jesus came to reveal to us what that SONSHIP really means in relation to the Father. Jesus called God, “Father” and taught His followers to do the same.
If God is my heavenly Father, what does that make me? A son! This is not a physical or biological position but a spiritual position in terms of relationship with my God and Father.
Question: So how is Jesus being the ‘Son of God’ different from someone else being a ‘son of God’?
Answer: The original Greek word used to describe Jesus’ sonship is “μονογενῆ” (or monogenes) which means “unique” (or one and only; or the only one of it’s kind; a less accurate translation is ‘begotten’). Meaning, there is no other Son like Him. There are many “sons of God” but only one “Son of God”, i.e. Jesus.
All other ‘sons’ are created. Jesus, being the Son of God means, God manifesting Himself in human form on earth and doing and speaking the things only God can do and speak. I’m a son of God but I don’t work miracles as Jesus the Son of God did, nor do I make other claims that Jesus made.
When applied to Jesus, ‘Son of God’ and ‘Son of Man’ are divine titles. And Jesus was clearly aware of this.
Question: But didn’t Jesus say that the Father is greater than Him?
Answer: Jesus’ statement here does not imply inferiority. Let me give you an example. I share my father’s DNA and characteristics. If I say my father is greater than I, does that mean he is more of a human being than I am? Although we’re different, we’re both equal as human beings and as men. In nature and essence we’re equal but in position and rank, my father is greater than I. This is the meaning of the word “meizon” (greater) than is used in the original language. The Father is greater than the Son in position. In essence and in being, Jesus is co-equal with God.
Question: I can understand Son of God possibly being a divine title but how is Son of Man a divine title?
Answer: When Jesus referred to Himself as Son of Man, He had in mind a prophecy written by Daniel more than 500 years earlier.
Daniel 7:13-14: “……Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. …….. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language worship Him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.
Also in Mark 14:62, when the high priest asks Jesus if he was the Son of the Blessed One. Jesus said, “I Am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Does this Son of Man sound like any ordinary man or prophet? It is made clear in these verses that the Son of Man was One who has all authority and power; He will come from heaven. He will rule eternally; everyone will worship Him. Seated with God means He was in a position that was equal with God! This is not any ordinary man or prophet. Son of Man, therefore, is a divine title.
Has any prophet ever dared to claim such a position for himself?
Where Did Jesus SAY He Is God?
First of all, we need to understand what Jesus’ words meant to his Jewish listeners and see how they reacted to his claims. We have to remember that the Jewish people understood their scriptures very well.
- John 8
If you had read John 8, as I had recommended at the start of this post, you would have come across this verse:
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” – John 8:58
Perhaps you did not catch the significance of this saying.
“I AM” is the very name of God! Revealed to Moses in the Torah, Exodus 3:14 and the Jews were well aware of this in their scriptures. Jesus had used the same sacred name, I AM, “ἐγὼ εἰμί” (ego eimi).
The name, I AM means, God has always existed and will always exist ~ i.e. ever existing, ever living God. Right here,, we have Jesus claiming this holy and divine Name for Himself. He’s actually saying that He existed before Abraham; therefore claiming to be ever existing, ever living, and therefore eternal and divine!
In the Aramaic Bible in Plain English, the verse sounds like this:
“Yeshua said to them: “Timeless truth I speak to you: Before Abraham would exist, I AM The Living God.” John 8:58
This is how it would have sounded like in Aramaic.
Question: Isn’t this blasphemy for a “man” to claim to be God? Punishable by stoning?
Answer: Well, that is exactly what the Jews decided when they heard Jesus saying this statement!
In the very next verse we see: “Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him”. John 8:59
Why? Because the Jews who heard Him knew exactly what He was saying and exactly WHO He was claiming to be! He was claiming to be God! That is why they were ready to stone Jesus!
Still in John 8, Jesus also said, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” John 8:23-24
There’s the “I AM” again! Jesus was saying unless you believe that “I AM HE”, you will DIE in your sins!
Are these the words of just another prophet? Can a mere prophet make such preposterous claims? “I am from above!” Jesus was saying He came from heaven. Aren’t all human beings, even prophets, born on earth?
And listen to this: “You will die in your sins unless you believe who I AM!” You will die in your sins, meaning you will go to hell as sinners, UNLESS you believe who He claims to be! Who does He claim to be? We really have to find out if we do not want to die as sinners!
This is a shocking thing to say, isn’t it? Did Adam or Abraham or Moses or David or any other prophet ever say such controversial things?
In case you missed it, let’s look at this verse in the Aramaic Bible in Plain English to enhance our understanding.
“I said to you that you shall die in your sins, for unless you shall believe that I AM THE LIVING GOD, you shall die in your sins.” John 8:24
This is how it would have sounded like in Aramaic.
According to Jesus, if you want to escape hell, you need to know and believe who He really is! Do you?
- John 10
On another occasion, in John 10:30-38, we see this conversation taking place between Jesus and His Jewish listeners…..
Jesus: The Father and I are one.
(Once again the people picked up stones to kill him.)
Jesus: I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?
Jews: We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.
It it is. very clear. Jesus was claiming to be God and the Jews were angry with Him. If Jesus was not God, why didn’t He correct them and say, “Look guys, you have misunderstood what I said. I never claimed to be God.”
He never changed His original statement but rather, listen to what He says next in this conversation…..
Jesus: Why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’….believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
Do you follow what is going on here? Jesus is saying: “It is NOT blasphemy for Me to claim to be God.” He’s saying: “If you find my claims hard to believe then, at least, believe because of My miracles.” Believe what? Believe that ‘the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.’
By claiming to be the Son of God, Jesus is claiming to be God. And the Jews clearly understood it as seen by their reaction.
My question to you is: Has any prophet or man of God ever dared to say these things? Did Muhammad ever say, “I and Allah are one. Allah is in me and I am in Allah”. What else can such statements by Jesus that “I and the Father are one” and “The Father is in Me and I am in the Father” mean? Except that He was clearly claiming Himself to be equal with God! The Jews clearly understood it. This would be blasphemy worthy of being stoned to death!
- John 5
In another verse John 5:18 – “So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill Him. For He not only broke the Sabbath, He called God His Father, thereby making Himself equal with God.”
- John 14
Another time, Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, asks Jesus to let them see the Father.
Jesus replies: “You still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father! So why are you asking Me to show Him to you? (John 14:9)
Tell me please. Did Abraham ever say, “Anyone who has seen me has seen God”? Did Moses? David? Or any other prophet? What about in the Quran? Would Muhammad ever dare to say, “Anyone who has seen me has seen Allah”.
Anyone who reads these words of Jesus would have no doubts that Jesus was saying that seeing Him is the same as seeing God! Jesus was essentially saying to the disciples then and to us today, “If you want to see God, look at Me.”
Did Jesus’ Closest Followers THINK & SAY He Was God?
If Jesus said He was God, obviously this message would have caught the attention of His disciples whom He spent three years with. Skeptics claim that the deity of Jesus was an invention by Paul, years after the death and resurrection of Jesus and that even Jesus’ closest disciples never claimed that their Master Jesus, was God. Once again, these are claims by people who have never read or understood the Bible.
Let’s see what Peter, John and others said or wrote about Jesus. I have purposely not included any statements written by Paul.
Peter: The justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior. (2 Peter 1:1)
John: The Word (Jesus) was God….and became flesh (human). (John 1)
Matthew: They will call Him Immanuel” (which means “God with us“). (Matt 1:23)
Luke: Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood. (Acts 20:28)
Thomas: “My Lord and My God”. (John 20:28)
If Jesus is not God, He certainly would have reprimanded Thomas immediately and corrected him. Jesus did not do that. In fact, Jesus commended Thomas, saying: “You believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” (John 20:29)
Evidently, Jesus’ closest disciples were preaching and teaching that Jesus is God, even before Paul became a follower of Jesus. Paul taught what the disciples already believed, taught and preached. Also, remember that Paul lived in the time of the disciples. If he had preached something that was wrong and contrary to the disciples of Jesus, don’t you think all the disciples of Jesus would have come against him, denounced him and called him a liar. Rather they welcomed him and approved of him. (see 2 Peter 3:15; Galatians 2:9)
We can go back to 700 BC, even before Jesus was incarnated as a human and find the Prophet Isaiah saying: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
(In case you have trouble with chronology and history, 700 BC is many centuries BEFORE Paul or any of the disciples were even born; Isaiah had prophesied that Jesus would be Mighty God .) So the disciples and Paul were not teaching or preaching anything that contradicted scriptures.
Other Evidence That Show Us Jesus is God
1. We all know that only God is to be worshipped.
One of the worst sins for a Jew is to worship something/someone besides God. Ever worse for someone who takes worship for themselves. However, many times in the gospels, we see that Jesus received worship. If Jesus is not God, why would He accept worship that is meant for God alone?
Refer to Matthew 14:33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38.; Hebrews 1:6. Not once did Jesus rebuke anyone or stopped them from worshipping Him.
If Jesus was just a good teacher, shouldn’t He have taught them to do what is right? If Jesus was just a prophet, why didn’t He command them to direct their worship only to God and not to Him?
2. We all know that only God can forgive sins.
No prophet in all of history has ever claimed the right or authority of God to forgive sins.
In Mark 2:5, we see Jesus saying to a paralyzed man, “Son your sins are forgiven.” The teachers of the law were understandably shocked, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
See Jesus’ response in verse 10. “I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
And we have already seen this other verse earlier: Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24; meaning that if you believe who Jesus really is you will not die in your sins.
3. We all know that on judgment day God will raise the dead, judge the world and grant eternal life
In John 6:40: Jesus said, “I will raise them up at the Last Day.”
In John 5:21-23: Jesus said that He has absolute authority to judge.
In John 10:27: Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.”
4. We all know that miracles can only be done in the Name of God
However, we see that whenever Jesus healed the sick or cast out demons or did a miracle like calming a storm, He did it in His own Name (authority). He usually said, “I command…” or “Be healed…”. Never once did He say, “My God commands…” or “God willing, He will heal…”
In Luke 10: Jesus sends His disciples to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. And they did so in the Name of Jesus.
In Mark 9:38: When the disciples told Jesus that a stranger was casting out demons using the Name of Jesus, He answered them and said, “Don’t stop him.” if the man was doing something wrong, wouldn’t Jesus have corrected him?
In Acts 3:6: Peter and John heal a lame man in the Name of Jesus Christ. (this was after Jesus had resurrected and ascended to heaven.)
5. We all know that only God has all the glory and no one can share His glory
In John 17:5, Jesus says to the Father: “And now, Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed.”
Jesus was claiming He shared the same glory with the Father! Even before the world was created! How could Jesus have existed eternally with the Father unless He and his Father shared the same divine essence? Jesus existed as the Word of God before being incarnated as a man on the earth He created.
6. We all know that we should only pray to God.
John 14:14 Jesus said we can ask Him in prayer, in His Name.
Acts 7:55-60: Steven, the first martyr prayed to Jesus
1 Corinthians 1:2: The Church in Corinth is taught to call on Jesus in prayer
Other verses: Disciples prayed to Jesus (Acts 1:24-25); Jews and Gentiles praying to Jesus (Rom. 10:12-13); Paul prays to Jesus (2 Cor. 12:8-10) ; 2 Thess. 2:16-17; etc.
7. We all know that we should only have faith in God.
John 14:1 Jesus said, “Believe in Me.”
John 3:16: Whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life
Before Jesus left the earth and ascended to heaven, He told his apostles to “baptize new disciples all over the world, in the NAME of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). By doing this, Jesus was putting both the Holy Spirit and Himself on the same level as the Father, signifying that they are equal. Did you also notice Jesus said NAME not NAMES, signifying oneness between Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
8. We all know that God alone is eternal, the Beginning and End.
The prophet Isaiah records in Isaiah 44:6 ~ “This is what the Lord says, Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”
Yet, in Revelation 1:17, Jesus says: “I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”
Rev 1:8 : “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”
You tell me who this PERSON is?
Referred to as “the Alpha and Omega,” “the beginning and end”, “the Lord God,” “the Almighty One”, “the living one”, “the who died but alive forever and ever”?
John prophecies about the second coming of this PERSON in Revelation 1:7 ~ “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see Him – even those who pierced Him. And all the nations of the world will mourn.
You tell me who was pierced on the cross?
Then John sees this PERSON on a throne, judging people from every nation. “And I saw a great white throne, and I saw the One who was sitting on it. . . . And the one sitting on the throne said . . . ’I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End.’” (Revelation 20:11; 21:6)
You tell me who is this JUDGE?
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who reigns from the great white throne. As shown earlier, Jesus had already told his disciples that He would be the final judge of the whole world.
Rev 21:6-7, John writes ~
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
Numerous Other Times In Scripture Where Jesus Claimed To Be God (from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
In all these verse, Jesus was claiming the name of God, I AM, for Himself. Would anyone else dare to this?
But Yeshua immediately spoke with them and he said, “Take heart; I AM THE LIVING GOD. Do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:27
“For they all saw him and they were afraid and immediately he spoke with them and he said to them, “Take heart, I AM THE LIVING GOD; do not be afraid.” Mark 6:50
“But Yeshua said to him, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, and you shall behold The Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” Mark 14:62
“But all of them were saying, “You are therefore the Son of God?” Yeshua said to them, “You are saying that I AM THE LIVING GOD.” Luke 22:70
“Yeshua said to her, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, I who am speaking with you.” John 4:26
“But Yeshua said to them, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, do not be afraid.” John 6:20
“I said to you that you shall die in your sins, for unless you shall believe that I AM THE LIVING GOD, you shall die in your sins.” John 8:24
“Yeshua said to them: “Timeless truth I speak to you: Before Abraham would exist, I AM THE LIVING GOD.” John 8:58
“Now I am telling you before it happens, that when it has occurred, you shall believe that I AM THE LIVING GOD.” John 13:19
“They were saying to him, “Yeshua the Nazarene.” Yeshua said to them, “I AM THE LIVING GOD.” But Yehuda the traitor was also standing with them. And when Yeshua said to them, “I AM THE LIVING GOD”, they went backward and fell to the ground.” John 18:5-6
Jesus also used “I AM” for himself on other occasions.
“I AM the light of the world” (John 8:12)
“I AM the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
“I AM the only way to the Father” (John 14:6)
“I AM the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)
“I AM the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11)
“I AM the door” (John 10:9)
“I AM the living bread” (John 6:51)
“I AM the true vine” (John 15:1)
“I AM the Alpha and Omega” Rev.1:7,8)
Want More? Consider These Scriptures.
Isaiah 44:6 – (God is the Redeemer)
2 Peter 1:1 (Jesus is the Redeemer) – “To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ”
Isaiah 44:24 – (God created the world by His self alone)
John 1:3; Colossians 1:16 – (Jesus created all things)
John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
John 5:23 – that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 20:28 – (God purchased us with His own blood)
Revelation 1:5,6; Revelation 5:8-9 – (Jesus’ blood purchased us)
Philippians 2:5-7 – Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men.
1 Timothy 3:16 – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
Titus 2:13 – looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ
Hebrews 1:8,9 – But to the Son He (God) says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
2 John 1:7 – For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
The real question you should be asking is not “Did Jesus ever claim to be God” but “Why Did God Become A Man?”
When you discover the answer to this, it will change your life. I guarantee you that!
Still have questions about Jesus?