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It has become culturally fashionable to make the claim that “Jesus never said he was God.” But as you will see there are scriptures which confirm that Jesus really did claim to be the divine Son of God and some where he accepted what others proclaimed about His divinity.
In the mean time, lots of folks would like to claim Jesus as their own, but his divinity gets in the way.
The Muslims claim Jesus was a great prophet to the Jews; but far less than their own prophet Muhammad. Some Jewish folks would like to acknowledge him as an ancient Jewish rabbi teacher if they could leave out the God thing. Plus they have a hard time ignoring the terrible treatment and persecution that many Jews have received from some of His misguided ‘Christian’ followers over the centuries.
Even Hindu and eastern gurus like to make the claim that Jesus traveled to India and learned everything from them. Then there is the strange case of Richard Dawkins who wants to claim that Jesus Would Be An Atheist Today.
The real problem is that the Bible gets in the way and supports the divinity of Jesus. Not only that, but Jesus clearly indicated on a number of different occasions that he was the “I am” God of the Old testament. The response of those who heard him at the time confirms it.
One is left to choose whether Jesus was a liar, just crazy, or whether he was telling the truth. Really there is no middle ground or justification for claiming that he was some kind of ethical teacher or prophet of God if he lied about something as basic as who he really was.
Here are 3 key scriptures where Jesus claims to be God:
- John 8:58: “ Before Abraham was “I am” “
“I Am” is the name that God of the Old Testament gave to Moses when he asked.
Those listening didn’t miss who he was claiming to be. See their response in verse 59:
“they picked up stones to stone him”
- John 10:30: “I and the Father are One”
Again those listening understood the claim he was making and picked up stones to kill him (Verse 33):
“…for Blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
- Mark 14:61-65: During the Trial of Jesus, the religious leaders responded to the explicit claims of Jesus:
“Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked.
“You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. –NIV
Obviously the religious authorities believed that Jesus was claiming to be divine and deemed him worthy of death for his blasphemy. Jesus knew that his own claims would result in a death sentence and yet he proclaimed it anyway.
It is clear in those 3 scriptures that Jesus claimed to be God; but there are also other scriptures where Jesus accepted the pronouncements of others about his divinity:
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. -ESV
Notice that not only does Peter call Jesus ‘the Son of the living God’ but Jesus responds by asserting that the knowledge for that statement was inspired by none the less than God who is ‘my Father who is in heaven.’
Finally we have the declaration by ‘doubting’ Thomas who didn’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus until he personally saw, touched, and spoke to him:
28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” -ESV
His whole life and perspective changed after that. He no longer had any doubt about who Jesus really is as he walked all the way to India to proclaim the ‘good news’ of the divine Savior:
16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. -ESV
Your eternal destiny and mine depends upon us getting it right about who Jesus really is and responding to the Truth. His disciples went to their death proclaiming Him as Lord and God.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”-ESV
Do you believe this? Accept what Jesus says about himself right now. Your life depends upon it–this life and the life to come.