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One of the greatest, most precious, and clearest teachings of the Bible is the deity of Jesus Christ. He is Emmanuel, God with us. But have you ever thought of the fact that the words, “I am God,” are never recorded in the Bible as being spoken by Jesus? This has led some to believe that Jesus was not actually God. If He was God, as some might argue, wouldn’t He have told us?
Should this concern Christians? No, not at all. Below are five ways that Jesus tells us that He is God and these are only a sampling.
The Bible calls Jesus “God”
Let’s start here. All of the Bible is God’s Word. And for Christians this means that all of the Bible is Jesus’ words too, seeing that He is the second Person of the Trinity. Yes, this presupposes the Trinity, but as Christians we don’t lay down our well established beliefs every time someone challenges a particular issue. Seeing this is true, every time the Bible speaks it is also right for us to say that in a true sense Jesus speaks. Not only that, but seeing that the Bible is God’s Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Jesus would certainly agree with everything it says about Him. If not, then Jesus would disagree with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, which is unthinkable!
With all this said, let me give just a couple of examples of where the Bible clearly tells us that Jesus is God.
In John 1:1 we have the famous opening lines of the Gospel of John which reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (NASB). Later in this chapter Jesus is identified as the “Word.” The apostle John clearly presents the Word as God in this verse (I won’t go into attempts to try to discredit this well established translation at this time).
In John 20 Christ has risen from the dead but Thomas is yet to see him, not being with the other disciples on one occasion when Jesus had already appeared to them. But now Jesus does appear to Thomas for the first time after His resurrection, and what is Thomas’ response? “Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (NASB). The last part of that verse in the Greek is literally, “the Lord of me and the God of me.” It would be hard to express the deity of Christ in clearer words. Thomas is speaking to Jesus. The verse says, “Thomas answered and said to Him,” (emphasis mine). If Thomas called Jesus his “God,” when Jesus was not in fact God, then Jesus would have rebuked him. Also, if Thomas was giving an expression of surprise like one would wrongly do today (which is extremely unlikely that Thomas would do), it appears that Jesus would have rebuked him as well for using God’s name in vain. Thomas’ words are a great proof that Jesus Christ is God.
Jesus said that God was His Father
As Christians, we claim that God is our Father. However, when Jesus said that God was His own Father, He does not simply mean the same thing as we do. And the Jews knew that. In John 5:18 we read, “For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (NASB). In biblical times sons often were taught the trade of their fathers. If someone’s father tended cattle, when his son made known that he was this man’s son, then people would know that he tended cattle too. When Jesus claimed God as His Father, He was saying that He too was God. Jesus never corrected the thought that He was equal with God, because He was. Jesus claimed to be God by claiming God as His Father.
Jesus said that He was the “I Am”
In John 8 Jesus is in an argument with some of the Jews. Toward the end of the chapter Jesus says, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am’” (v. 58, NASB). What did the Jews do after hearing this? They picked up stones to kill Him. Why would they do that? Because they understood what Jesus was saying. When Jesus said “I am,” He was not saying He was born before Abraham, but He was identifying Himself with the God of the Old Testament.
The New Testament was written in Greek and the Old Testament was written in Hebrew (mostly). However, about one or two hundred years before Jesus was born in the flesh, the Old Testament was translated into Greek so Greek speaking people could read the Old Testament. This is important because the exact two words in Greek that are translated “I am” in John 8:58 are the exact two words in the first part Exodus 3:14 when God spoke from the burning bush to Moses where it says, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (NASB, emphasis mine). The Jews picked up stones to kill Jesus because He claimed to be God. Once again we see that Jesus said He was God.
Jesus is glorified with the Father
John 17 tells of what is known by some Christians as Jesus’ high priestly prayer. In this prayer Jesus prays in verse 5, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (NASB). It is true that Christians will one day be glorified. However, given everything the Bible says about Jesus, when Jesus prays to be glorified with God, it is with a glory that is different than what Christians will have one day. Jesus is praying “glorify Me together with Yourself.” He is praying to be glorified with God, and we may say, like God. This is a glory that a mere man cannot have. In His prayer asking to be glorified with God is another example of Jesus claiming to be God.
Jesus receives worship
When the apostle John, overwhelmed by the presence of an angel, began to worship, he was quickly told to stop (Revelation 19:10). No matter how great a being may be, only God is to be worshiped. And yet the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ Himself receives worship. In John 9, after Jesus heals a blind man and reveals that He is the Son of Man, the Bible says of the man just healed, “And he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped Him” (v. 9, NASB). The man worshiped Jesus and Jesus received his worship. Only God is worshiped. And Jesus tells us that He is God because He receives worship.
When we think about the above evidence from the Bible for the deity of Christ we have to conclude this: Jesus did in fact tell us He was God. No, He didn’t say the exact words, “I am God,” but why should we demand such a thing? He told us and showed us that He was God in many different ways. Now we have a decision. Will we bow and adore Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, giving Him the worship He deserves, or reject the clear teaching of the Bible and go on in rebellion against Him? Let us do as Thomas did and cry out, “My Lord and my God!”