Posted by: Randall Niles | November 6, 2009

Did Jesus Really Claim to be God?

Throughout history, many religious voices have competed for our attention. Why should we consider the message of Jesus above those of Muhammad or Confucius, Buddha or Joseph Smith? After all, don’t all roads, if faithfully traveled, lead to heaven? Aren’t all religions basically the same?

When you earnestly investigate the many religions, you’ll discover that only Jesus speaks with the authority of God. You see, he didn’t claim to be another religious prophet; he claimed to be the Son of God!

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I Am!” At this they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds (John 8:58-59).

Here, Jesus says two things: (1) He preexists his birth and (2) He’s God (“I Am” was the special name for God used by the Jewish people).

I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God (John 10:30-33).

Here, the original Greek is literally, “I and the Father, we are one.” There’s no doubt that Jesus himself claimed to be God and others recognized him as such!

Of course, some scholars today argue that Jesus never made his claim to deity clear. Some say that Jesus was “deified” by religious conspirators years after his death.

Actually, beginning with the Magi that “bowed down and worshipped” the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:11), many during the 1st century understood who Jesus claimed to be. The Magi knew that the Messiah would be called “God with us” (Immanuel) and “Mighty God” (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6). They knew exactly who Jesus — the Christ – was!

Later, when Jesus started referring to himself as the “Son of Man,” many knew what this meant from the ancient prophecies.

“… there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven … He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14).

The disciples worshiped Jesus as God – “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God (Matthew 14:32-33).

After Christ’s resurrection, here’s what Thomas had to say – My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:28-29).

Paul, the skeptic who became a believer, summed it up well –

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him… For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…” (Colossians 1:15-16; 2:9).

Not only was it clear that Jesus Christ claimed to be the Son of God (God in human form), but he proved it by conquering death itself! Yes, Muhammad, Confucius, and the other religious leaders remain in their graves. Yet Jesus rose from the dead three days after his crucifixion, just as he said he would!

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

Anyone with power over death deserves our attention. Anyone who proved to be the Son of God deserves to be heard.

So, what did Jesus say? Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He didn’t mince words… He didn’t say one of many ways, but The Way.

So, it’s clear who Jesus Christ claimed to be, but why does that really matter?

Again, Jesus provides us with clarity:

“I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins (John 8:24).

No doubt, the claims of Jesus Christ deserve some investigation,

Randall Niles

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