Did Jesus Claim to be God?
by Robert M. Bowman Jr and J. Ed Komoszewski
Although Jesus did not say, “I am God,” He spoke and acted as God in the flesh. In our book, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ, we present the evidence for Jesus being God in five categories, which you can remember using the word HANDS:
- Jesus gets God’s Honors
- Jesus has God’s Attributes
- Jesus has God’s Names
- Jesus does God’s Deeds
- Jesus sits in God’s Seat
Let’s look at a few examples of each of these five ways that Jesus claimed to be God.
Honors – Jesus expected people to honor Him “just as they honor the Father” (Jn 5:23). He accepted worship from His disciples (Mt 14:33; 28:17). He encouraged them to have faith in Him as they did in God (Jn 14:1). He invited them to pray to Him: “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (Jn 14:14).
Attributes – Jesus claimed to be just like God the Father—so much so that if you saw Him you had seen the Father (Jn 14:7-11). He revealed Himself to be omnipresent when He asserted that He would be present with His disciples wherever they gathered in His name (Mt 18:20). He even said that He had existed before creation (Jn 17:5).
Names – Although Jesus never called Himself “God” directly, the way He spoke of Himself as “the Son” implied that He was on a par with the Father (Mt 11:27; Jn 5:17-18). His “I am” sayings echoed the way God identified Himself in the Old Testament (cp. Is 43:10 with Jn 8:24,28,58). Jesus’ favorite title for Himself, “the Son of Man,” refers to prophetic visions of a divine yet human figure (Ezk 1:26-28; Dn 7:13-14). Jesus did accept it when Thomas called Him “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). This was something people were ready to say only after Jesus had risen from the dead.
Deeds – Jesus did things, and claimed to do things, that only God could do. He calmed a raging storm with a simple word, walked on water, and fed thousands of people with one boy’s lunch (Mt 8:23-27; 14:13-33). He claimed the right to forgive people of all their sins (Mt 9:1-8; Mk 2:1-12). Jesus said that He would raise the dead (Jn 5:28-29; 11:25-26) and be the final judge of all humanity (Mt 25:31-46; Jn 5:22-23).
Seat – Jesus claimed that He would sit on the seat of God’s own throne, the place from which God rules over His entire creation (Mt 25:31; Mk 12:36; Lk 20:42-43). That is exactly what Jesus will do there: rule over absolutely everything in creation (Mt 11:25-27; 28:18; Lk 10:21-22).
The religious people who rejected Jesus understood that He was claiming to be equal to God (Mk 2:7; Jn 5:17-18; 10:27-33). We should not only recognize that Jesus claimed to be God, but should commit our whole lives to Him as our Lord and our God.
This article is provided courtesy of the Apologetics Study Bible for Students published by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tenn. This dynamic study Bible contains over 200 fast-read articles that anchor us in the truths of the Christian faith and equip us to have conversations with others about Jesus Christ. For information on how you can own this powerful tool click here.
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