One statement people like to challenge Christians with is, “Jesus never claimed that he was God.” Now, while Jesus never said the words exactly, “I am God,” he certainly claimed to be God multiple times. If you have a bit of context of the Bible and maybe some knowledge of Jewish culture at the time, it is abundantly clear that Jesus affirms that he is God. Let’s take a look at a few places in the Bible that prove this.
Jesus used the personal name of God for himself
In the Bible, God reveals his name to Moses, which is Yahweh, which is usually translated, “I AM.” Later, in John 5, Jesus is talking to a large crowd. He is talking about Abraham and how Abraham had looked forward to when Jesus would be born. The people in the crowd are all very confused because they know that Abraham lived so long before Jesus. However, Jesus says this:
John 8:58 “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!”
What we can take from Jesus’ reply is that he was addressing that he was and is Yahweh. Not only that, but he has always been God. There is even further proof of this in John 8:59, where they start picking up stones to throw at him because his claiming to be God appears to be blasphemous to the crowd.
Jesus’ opponents said Jesus was claiming to be God
Now, even if Jesus did not directly say that he was God, it was very well understood among the Jewish community that Jesus was claiming to be God.
John 10:30-33 “‘The father and I are one.” Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.’”
This just further shows that people knew that he was claiming to be God, otherwise they would not have had any reason to throw stones.
Jesus allowed people to call him God
Finally, there is the famous “doubting Thomas” who said in John 20 that he needed to see not only Jesus resurrected, but the nail wounds in his hands, to believe that Jesus was God. When Jesus reveals himself to Thomas, Thomas exclaims, “My Lord and my God!” If Jesus did not claim to be God, he would have corrected Thomas or told him not to worship him, but instead he allows Thomas to address him that way.
All in all, people who do not fully read or understand the Bible may continue to try to make the argument that Jesus never claimed to be God, but as we’ve seen above, Jesus made it very clear that he claimed to be God several times, and everyone who knew him knew that he made this claim.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Read John 8:58-59. Why is it so significant that Jesus calls himself, “I AM?” What about the people’s reaction affirms that they understood that Jesus was claiming to be God?
- Read John 10:30-33. What parts of this passage signify that the people understood that Jesus was claiming to be God?
- Why is it important that even his opponents understood that Jesus was claiming to be God?
- Even though Thomas doubted, he was able to worship Jesus and acknowledge who He was. What does this say about our relationships with Jesus?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.