Jesus said He was God. In a variety of ways.
First, we can look at some of the things that Jesus DID to argue that He was God.
- Jesus calmed a storm with a word. (Mark 4:39)
- He walked on water. (John 6:19)
- He healed a multitude of people on many occasions. (Mark 1:30-34, 3:9-10; Matthew 4:24, 8:16, 12:15; 15:30-31; Luke 4:40, 6:17, 9:11.) John’s gospel focuses on individual healings (John 4:46-54, 5:1-9; 9:5-11).
- He raised Lazarus from the dead. (John 11:36-44).
- Jesus gave His disciples the power to heal and cast out unclean spirits. (Mark 3:14-15) and He said that His disciples would do greater works because He went to His Father (God) (John 14:12).
Okay. So those are the kinds of things that GOD would be able to do if He came to us in the form of a flesh and blood human.
We can also look at some of the things that Jesus SAID. Jesus believed He was God. God’s Son, yes, but as God in the flesh. Not just an adopted child of God like the rest of us.
- He told a man his sins were forgiven – and as evidence that He had the power to do so, He healed him (Matthew 9:2-9:7).
- He claimed to be Lord of the Sabbath. (Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5).
- Before He raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus claimed to be the RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. (John 11:23-27).
- He claimed to pre-exist Abraham. (John 8:58).
The WORD MADE FLESH.
John’s gospel is very interesting, because John says, “Look. Jesus is God in the Flesh. I know, because I was there through the whole thing. This is my side of the story as a direct witness.”
John’s gospel begins by declaring that Jesus is the Word of God through whom God the Father created the world, and then He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1-14). John repeatedly states that he himself saw Jesus, touched Him, knew Him. John said, “I was there. I saw Jesus at work. I’m a witness.” (John 1:14, 21:24, 1 John 1:1-3).
As a human, Jesus had to be born as a baby and live under the same circumstances as all of us in a human body. He had to be tempted in all ways like we are – and not sin (Hebrews 4:15). And because He was born as a human man, Jesus was the “Son of God.” However, Jesus claimed powers that only God would have. Like… forgiving sins and giving healing powers to His disciples.
In John 8:58, Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Woah. WOAH! In that statement, Jesus claimed to be the voice of the Burning Bush in Exodus 3:14. “Tell the children of Israel I AM has sent me to you.” And lest we miss the significance, the Jews took up stones to stone Jesus for saying it. Let’s print out the interchange here from John 8:54-59 (NKJV):
Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.
Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
That’s not a small thing, Jesus claiming to be GOD.
Jesus also managed to live a sinless life, which is impossible – unless you’re God. Paul makes the case that Jesus came to be a second Adam, to undo the curse that Adam caused in the first place (Romans 5:12-21). But, He had to be sinless to do that.
Jesus claimed that He came to FULFILL the Scriptures (Matthew 5:17). The Hebrew Scriptures tell us that the Messiah would be GOD.
The writer of Hebrews makes the case that Jesus wasn’t an angel, He wasn’t just another man. He’s the Son of God, “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.” (Hebrews 1:3).
Image. The image of His person. God is Spirit and we can’t look at Him lest we die. So, Jesus is God’s image… God in a form that we can see and talk to and understand.
The writer of Hebrews says this, and then to back it up, he quotes Psalm 45:6-7:
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
There’s another passage we sing every Christmas time, because Handel did such a beautiful job of putting it to music. Look up Isaiah 9:6:
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.
What about our favorite verse about Bethlehem? In Matthew 2:46, when Herod asked the chief priests and scribes where the Messiah would be born, they told him “Bethlehem” and quoted Micah 5:2, which says:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
Matthew leaves off the last part of the verse, the part that says the Ruler was around in ancient times, “Whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting.”
Jesus points out Psalm 110:1, in which David calls his son (the Messiah) “My Lord.”
The LORD said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
In Matthew 22:41-45, Jesus quotes this psalm and asks the Pharisees, ““If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” And they didn’t dare ask Him any more questions after that.
The Apostle Paul firmly taught that Jesus was God, that the whole universe was made through Him, and that He held it all together! Remember, Paul (formerly ‘Saul’) was venomously against the Christians as a young man, until Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:3-6 and changed the course of his life. Paul doesn’t hold back at all when he describes Christ in Colossians 1:15-18:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Paul does it again in Philippians 2:5-11:
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 bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.