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Did Jesus Claim To Be God?

Did Jesus claim to be God?

There are some who reject the notion of Jesus as “God” – rejecting the notion of the Trinity.  They claim that Jesus never claimed to be God.  Now, while the phrase, “Hey, people, ‘I am God!'” was, in fact, never spoken by Jesus – that does not (by any sense of logic or reason) mean that Jesus, his followers, and even his enemies, did not understand his affirmations of  Divinity.

Jesus Claimed To Be God (a few references)

Jesus claimed that those who have seen him have seen the Father  (John 14:9).

Jesus claimed to have existed before Abraham (John 8:58).

Jesus claim that he was equal with the Father (John 5:17, 18).

Jesus claimed to have the power forgive sins (Mark 2:5–7) (something the Bible says that ONLY God can do (Isaiah 43:25).

Jesus Followers Understood Jesus to be God (a few references)

The New Testament claims Jesus as Creator (John 1:3).

The New Testament claims Jesus holds creator together (Colossians 1:17).

Paul claims the Jesus was God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16, KJV).

John begins his gospel claiming Jesus is “the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Jesus is the “I Am” – A Claim to be God

Jesus used the phrase “I Am” on many different occasions – in Hebrew, this was the phrase God used to introduce himself as GOD to Moses in the wilderness.  Jesus use of this phrase identified himself as God.  They gave to Jesus qualities of life that ONLY GOD could fulfill.

John 6:51:”I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;”

John 8:23: And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I AM from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

John 8:12: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

John 10:9: “I AM the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

John 10:11: “I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

John 10:36: “do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 15:1: “I AM the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

The overwhelming testimony of both Jesus and those who commented on him in the New Testament is that he was/is MORE than Jesus a mere man.  He was God…the ONE true God, revealed as Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jesus is the ETERNAL SON OF THE FATHER, preexistent, and incarnate in human flesh.

Jesus Enemies Understood Jesus Teachings as a Claim to Be God

Now, if Jesus only (or Jesus and his friends, only) made this claim…it could be dismissed out of hand.  As Lewis said, “He would either be a lunatic on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg or else he would be the Devil of Hell.”  But not only did his friends make this claim, but so did his detractors and opponents.  There was no question on the part of the Jewish authorities that Jesus made the audacious claim to be GOD.  .

They lined up to kill him.  When he asked, “Why?  What good works are you planning to stone me for doing?”  They said:  “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (John 10:33, NASB).

If Jesus were JUST a moral teacher, then he was claiming to TEACH truth.  Jesus did not claim to TEACH truth, he claimed he WAS the TRUTH – a pretty awesome claim (John 14:6).

Did Jesus claim to be God?  YES.  So did his followers.  So did his opponents.

The Evidence In Jesus Life Support His Claim to be God

Was there evidence beyond these claims?

If you believe the Bible, there is certainly evidence to support this claim.  He was born of a virgin.  On the occasion of his birth, affirming the miraculous nature of his conception and delivery, he was called:  “Savior” “Immanuel -which means ‘God with us!”

Throughout his life there were prophecies fulfilled, miracles upon miracles, signs after sign, all affirming that Jesus was who he said he was (John 20:30, 31).

The greatest sign of all would be Jesus own resurrection.

Jesus said:   “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up… but he spake of the temple of his body” (John 2:19, 21, KJV).

The ability to raise His life back from the dead was the sign that separates Him not only from all other religious leaders, but also from anyone else who has ever lived.  Jesus claimed to have that exact power.  Jesus rose from the dead.

For further reading, here are three great resources…

 

Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ
by: Thomas F. Torrance
publisher: IVP Academic, published: 2008-10-31
ASIN: 0830828915
EAN: 9780830828913
sales rank: 130398
price: $22.83 (new), $23.99 (used)

The late Thomas F. Torrance has been called “the greatest Reformed theologian since Karl Barth” and “the greatest British theologian of the twentieth century” by prominent voices in the academy. His work has profoundly shaped contemporary theology in the English-speaking world. This first of two volumes comprises Thomas Torrance’s lectures delivered to students in Christian Dogmatics on Christology at New College, Edinburgh, from 1952 to 1978 and amounts to the most comprehensive presentation of Torrance’s understanding of the incarnation ever published. In eight chapters these expertly edited lectures highlight Torrance’s distinctive belief that the object of our theological study–Jesus Christ–actively gives himself to us in order that we may know him, as well as unpack Torrance’s well-developed understanding of our union with Christ and how it impacts the Christian life. Also included are his reflections on the in-breaking of Christ’s kingdom and its intense conflict with and victory over evil. Decidedly readable and filled with some of Torrence’s most influential thought, this will be an important volume for scholars, professors and students of Christian theology for decades to come.

On the Incarnation: De Incarnatione Verbi Dei (Popular Patristics Series)
by: St. Athanasius
publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr, published: 1996-06
ASIN: 0913836400
EAN: 9780913836408
sales rank: 402035
price: $21.98 (new), $5.72 (used)

“This is a good translation of a very great book.

“St Athanasius stood contra mundum for the Trinitarian doctrine ‘whole and undefiled,’ when it looked as if all the civilized world was slipping back from Christianity into the religion of Arius, into one of those ‘sensible’ synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which then, as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen. The glory of St Athanasius is that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, like all others, have passed away.

“When I first opened De Incarnatione I soon discovered by a very simple test that I was reading a masterpiece, for only a mastermind could have written so deeply on such a subject with such classical simplicity”

– C. S. Lewis, from the Introduction

On the Incarnation is part of the POPULAR PATRISTIC SERIES.

The God Who Became Human: A Biblical Theology of Incarnation (New Studies in Biblical Theology)
by: Graham Cole
publisher: IVP Academic, published: 2013-06-06
ASIN: 0830826319
EAN: 9780830826315
sales rank: 297737
price: $12.37 (new), $13.45 (used)

Seeking an answer to Anselm’s timeless question, “Why did God become man?” Graham Cole follows Old Testament themes of preparation, theophany and messianic hope through to the New Testament witness to the divinely foretold event. He concludes with a consideration of the theological and existential implications of the incarnation of God.

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