Did Jesus claim to be God?

There is disagreement as to whether Jesus was God.  Some who deny his deity say that he never claimed to be God.  The fact is Jesus said several times in the gospels that he was God.

If you begin reading the gospels, beginning with Matthew, you will come to a section known as the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7.  He stated three times in this sermon that he was God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

He equated being persecuted for the sake of righteousness with being persecuted for his sake.  Only God, the source of all righteousness, could make such a claim.

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

He said that he would decide who would enter the kingdom of Heaven.  That is something that only God has the right to decide.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)

He said that our lives should be based on obedience to his commands.  Only God has the right to make such a demand.

This isn’t the first reference to the deity of Jesus found in Matthew.  Matthew 2:1-12 describes the visit of the wise men to see the newly born king of the Jews.

And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)

They not only acknowledged him as king but they worshiped him as God.

After Jesus had finished speaking to the people he performed a series of miracles that proved that he really was God.  These miracles are found in Matthew 8-9 .  He cleansed lepers, healed the sick, drove out demons. controlled the weather, and even restored life to a girl who had died.  While doing these things he made one more claim to deity.

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:1-2)

Only God has the authority to forgive sins.

If you read through the gospels you will find that Jesus made other claims to be God.  Perhaps the plainest one is found in the gospel of John.

“Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:56-58)

When Jesus used the phrase “I am” he was identifying himself with the God who had revealed himself to Moses.

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)

He was claiming to be the same God who had rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

Since Jesus said many times that he was God why do so many deny this fact?  Perhaps this is the reason.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

Those who deny that Jesus claimed to be God are blind and can’t see that he has made such claims.  This is how we should respond to those people.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

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Posted on June 22, 2017, in Bible study and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Another excellent article, Clyde. I know of two more expressions of Christ’s deity.

    Throughout the Gospels, Christ refers to Himself using the “I am __ ” format (“I am the way, the truth, and the life”; “I am the good shepherd”; “I am the resurrection and the life” etc.). You can find a list here:

    https://www.esv.org/resources/esv-global-study-bible/chart_43_08/

    These assertions are equivalent to the “I am” statement in Exodus, and would have been understood by the Jews as such.

    Also, Christ responded to the messengers who inquired on behalf of John the Baptist whether He was the Messiah that they should tell John He was healing the lame, restoring sight to the blind, etc. (Luke 7: 22). This was a reference to Isaiah 35: 5 and 61: 1 affirming that Christ was the Messiah.

    I’ve read — but have not verified myself — that restoring sight was especially significant since no other prophet did this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the information. I looked up the use of the word “blind” and I think you are right about Jesus being the only one to restore sight. There are prophecies in Isaiah about the blind receiving their sight at some future time but no case of it ever happening. The closest thing I could find was the time Elisha asked God to blind the Syrian soldiers who were looking for him and then asking that their sight be restored after he had led them to Samaria. This wasn’t total blindness, but an inability to recognize where they were. It was similar the what happened to the two disciples whom Jesus met on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection. They could see clearly but weren’t able to recognize Jesus.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is lovely!! And Yes Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. JESUS is God. Thanks for sharing I love this.!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is good Clyde

    Like

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