Who Does Jesus Think He Is?

Too often when we read the gospel, we miss many subtle things that were really huge, even preposterous, to those listening to Jesus as He was speaking to them. We fail to see these things because we are not acquainted with first century Jewish culture, practices, thinking, even language nuances.

In this article, we will look at just a couple of examples, although there are many more all over the gospel, if we were to read and slow down and understand context.

In John 13, Jesus is speaking with His disciples just after they had eaten the Passover meal for the last time together. In a few hours, He would be arrested. And He says to them:

“A new commandment I give to you

John 13:34

Let’s pause right there. Usually we just read past this and focus on the actual commandment He gave. We naturally miss the gravity of what Jesus just said but the disciples for sure didn’t.

A NEW commandment?

Wait a minute! To the Jews, commandments meant one thing and one thing only ~ the 1500 year old Law of Moses as recorded in the Torah. The Jews lived and breathed the laws. From birth to grave, their lives revolved around the 613 laws of the Mosaic code and they endeavored to order their lives around them and follow stringently all the requirements.

No prophet from Moses to John the Baptist ever gave any “new” commandment. No prophet, priest or king (as evil as some of them were) would dare to add or subtract anything from the laws.

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.

Deuteronomy 4:2

And yet, here is Jesus, blatantly decreeing a NEW commandment! THIS IS STAGGERING! I imagine the disciples eyeing one another nervously when He said this. Picture the uproar if there had been present with them Pharisees or other religious leaders. They would have gone ballistic! “Who does this fellow think he is? How dare he issue a new commandment! Only God has the sole right and divine authority to decree any new commandment!”

Who does Jesus think He is? God?

There was something else Jesus said to his disciples that night, at that very Last Supper, that would have stunned Peter, James, John and the rest, that we easily miss.

For 1500 years, the Passover ritual was practiced generation after generation to commemorate GOD delivering Israel from Egypt. During this celebration, when Jews eat and drink, they remember GOD.

What did Jesus do that night with His disciples? He took the bread, distributed it to them to eat and He said: “Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner, He took the cup, passed it around for them to drink and he said to them: “Do this in remembrance of Me.”


The Passover was always done in remembrance of God alone. And here was Jesus telling His followers to do it remembrance of Himself!

Who does Jesus think He is? God?