Quick Challenge Answer: Did Jesus Claim to be God?

Some have asked, why do Christians consider Jesus as part of the trinity when he never claimed to be God? If it is such an essential part of Christianity, why didn’t Jesus ever explicitly declare that he was God? It is true that Jesus never said the words “I am God,” but he might as well have. Did Jesus claim to be God? This challenge is pretty easy to resolve if you simply know your Bible.

Direct Claims to be God

There are a few points where Jesus directly claims to be God, even if he doesn’t use the exact words. The most obvious is John 8:58-59. “Very truly I tell you,” 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.” That “I am” is a direct reference to Exodus 3 when God tells Moses to tell the Israelites that “I am has sent me.”

A second strong example is a couple chapters later in John 10:30-33. “I and the Father are one.” Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” In both of these cases one could argue he meant something less literal. However, we then have to answer, why did the people try to stone him? We see the same thing with the Pharisees in Mark 14. If Jesus never claimed to be God, an awful lot of people tried to kill him for nothing.

Implicit Claims to be God

Those are some of the most explicit, but there are plenty of times where Jesus either says or does something that would imply his divinity. For example, in Matthew 9, Jesus forgives a man’s sins. The experts immediately understood that this was something only God can do. Further, when other people claim that Jesus is God, such as Thomas in John 20:28, Jesus never corrects them or denies the claim.

We see repeated instances where Jesus directly claims to be God. There are numerous examples of Jesus doing things that only God had the authority to do. Further, others were claiming that he was God from the beginning. This statement that Jesus never claimed to be God has the facts wrong. Jesus did claim to be God, if you take the time to read the context and understand the text.

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