Home Pastor's Corner . Did Jesus claim to be God?

. Did Jesus claim to be God?


We all just spent a glorious Easter remembering the death and resurrection of Christ. Who is this Christ and did He ever claim to be God? This is at the heart of the gospel. One of the most critical questions ever asked by a person was asked by John when he sent his disciples to Christ with this question: Matthew 11:2-5 (ESV) 2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” The Greek for “who is to come” is “ergomai” which means ‘the coming one’. The Jews were waiting for the ‘ergomai’ and sadly today they still gather around the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem crying for the ‘ergomai’.

I trust as you read this latest Pastor’s corner that you will not miss the answer of Jesus” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” Jesus did what the ‘soon coming one’ alone could do. But did He ever claim to be God?

Revelation 1:17-18 (ESV) 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”

Christ was clear about who He is, who do you say Jesus is? Remember when Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples the mother of all questions, "Who do you say I am?" (Matthew 16:15; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20). Now many people have different opinions, Atheists claim that He never was, or that He was a mere historical figure, the Muslims say He was a good prophet, but then they ignore all that this good prophet said about Himself. Mormons answer this question by saying that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer; Jehovah's Witnesses answer by saying that Jesus is the archangel Michael; New Agers say Jesus is an avatar or enlightened messenger. Jesus, however, answered by claiming that He was God.

Firstly, Jesus claimed to be the unique Son of God. As a result, the Jewish leaders tried to kill Him because in "calling God his own Father, [Jesus was] making himself equal with God" (John 5:18 ESV). In John 8:58 Jesus went so far as to use the very words by which God revealed Himself to Moses from the burning bush by saying: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (Exodus 3:14). To the Jews this was the epitome of blasphemy, for they knew that in doing so Jesus was clearly claiming to be God. On yet another occasion, Jesus explicitly told the Jews in John 10:30-31: 30 I and the Father are one.” 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

Secondly, Jesus made an unmistakable claim to deity before the Chief Priests and the whole Sanhedrin. Caiaphas the High Priest asked him: Mark 14:61-62 (ESV) 61… Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” A biblically illiterate person might well have missed the import of Jesus' words. Caiaphas and the Council, however, did not. They knew that in saying he was "the Son of Man" who would come "on the clouds of heaven" he was making an overt reference to the Son of Man in Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 7:13-14). In doing so, He was not only claiming to be the pre-existent Sovereign of the Universe but also prophesying that He would vindicate His claim by judging the very court that was now condemning Him. Moreover, by combining Daniel's prophecy with David's proclamation in Psalm 110, Jesus was claiming that He would sit upon the throne of Israel's God and share God's very glory. To students of the Old Testament this was the height of "blasphemy," thus "they all condemned him as worthy of death" (Mark 14:64-65).

Finally, Jesus claimed to possess the very attributes of God. For example, He claimed omniscience by telling Peter, in Matthew 26:34 (ESV)“Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He further declared omnipotence by not only resurrecting Lazarus (John 11:43) but by raising Himself from the dead (see John 2:19); and professed omnipresence by promising He would be with His disciples "to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). Not only so, but Jesus said to the paralytic in Luke 5:20 (ESV), "Friend, your sins are forgiven". In doing so, He claimed a prerogative reserved for God alone. In addition, when Thomas worshiped Jesus saying: "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28 (ESV), Jesus responded with commendation rather than condemnation.

So when John asked if Jesus is the ‘coming one’, Christ was clear in His answer to John, by simply referring to the works He was doing that were in line with the Old Testament prophecies, but throughout His ministry He kept on echoing that statement in various ways. Besides the statements made by Christ Himself, there are a tremendous amount of verse in the rest of Scripture that support this view, which will make this article too long.

Our prayer is that you will know Jesus as your Lord and God and thank Him for the fact that He came to die for you and that He rose for you to redeem you so that you too can be with Him forever.

I trust that the following song that reminds us that Christ alone is our Cornerstone will remain a song in your heart for the days ahead.