Jesus Did Claim To Be God!

Yes, He did. Many times.

Let’s look at just a couple of examples from John 5.

Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

John 5:17

Wait. How is this a claim of divinity?

Look at the next verse. “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He… said that God was His Father, MAKING HIMSELF EQUAL WITH GOD.” (John 5:18; caps mine)

How and why is Jesus’ saying that God was His Father, a claim of equality with God?
There is something here that we, modern readers, tend to overlook. The Jewish religious leaders of the time did not miss it when they heard it from the lips of Jesus. They absolutely and clearly understood immediately that Jesus was stating that God was His Father in a unique way, thus declaring Himself equal with God!

“He was claiming that God was His Father in a special sense. He was claiming that He partook of the same nature [and work] as His Father. This involved equality.”

(Morris; parenthesis mine)

Jesus’ use of “My Father” had a totally distinct meaning and judged as blasphemous. He was asserting His unity with the Father and no one else figures in that equation!

“Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God, not in the way that ordinary human believers are sons of God, but in the sense of one who was equal to God in his nature and in every way, yet who related to God in a Father-Son relationship… Not in the sense of being created… but in the sense of being a Son who is exactly like his Father in all attributes…
If Jesus had been merely a man (as his Jewish opponents thought), then this claim would have been blasphemy on Jesus’ part.”

ESV Study Bible, Notes on John 5:18 ; 1:14

No wonder the Jews were livid and wanted to kill Him!

“My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” (John 5:17).
This is like saying, “I do the same thing God does.”
What??!! How can any ordinary man say this? Even the most extraordinary prophet could never make this claim!
Jesus did. This is why the Jews rightly judged it to be a claim of equality with God!
In fact, this is exactly what He says just two verses later.
Whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”

It is very interesting to note that John 5:19 is a verse that Muslims like to use to “prove” that Jesus is not God, when in fact it says just the opposite!

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” (John 5:19)

Muslims read only the first part of this verse and think, “Oh… Jesus can do nothing. Therefore, he is not God.”
Jesus was not saying that He can do nothing. He was saying that He does nothing except what the Father does! Far from being an admission that He was not God, it is actually a claim of His divinity!

In the context of this passage, the Jews had accused Jesus of working during the Sabbath. Jesus’ explanation was simply that He works during the Sabbath just as the Father never stops working. The implication is that He is Lord of the Sabbath, just as the Father is.
This is another claim of deity. You can read more in my other article: “Who Is The Lord Of The Sabbath?” (opens in new tab)

What does it mean when Jesus said, “Whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise”?
Does it mean that since the Father creates and gives life, Jesus also creates and gives life?
That is exactly what it means!

Reading on, just two verses later, “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.” (John 5:21). Here is another remarkable claim to deity, showing that Jesus does only what God can do!

The Son gives life to whom He will:
“Here our Lord points out his sovereign power and independence; he gives life according to his own will – not being obliged to supplicate for the power by which it was done, as the prophets did; his own will being absolute and sufficient in every case.”

Clarke

The Jewish leaders were upset that Jesus had healed a paralytic during Sabbath. Jesus’ response was that His power was far beyond healing a paralytic. He has the power and authority to raise the dead and give life to them just as the Father does.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25)

Conclusion

Jesus said, “... All should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father… ” (John 5:23)

This verse, not only establishes Jesus’ right to be worshiped, it also amounts to yet another clear claim to deity.

“If Jesus – designating Himself as the Son – was not God, then it would be idolatry to honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Failing to honor God the Son means that it is impossible for one to also honor God the Father.” (David Guzik)

“Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father” shows that religions such as Islam that considers Jesus merely a great prophet do not represent the truth about God, because they fail to honor and worship Jesus.

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