Did Jesus Say He Was God?
The gospel of John, which presents Jesus Christ in His deity, is sometimes called the "I AM" book. Over and over again in the book of John, Jesus said, "I AM." To the learned Jew this phrase "I AM" was very significant. It was a claim by Jesus that He is God. Why? In the Old Testament when God called Moses to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt, He told Moses to tell the nation that "I AM" has sent you (Exodus 3:13-15). "I AM" is the covenant God of Israel, Jehovah! Therefore, the great "I AM" is the designation for God to the nation of Israel and Jesus' statement "I AM" is a clear indication that He was saying, "I AM God."
Did Jesus say He was God? Jesus claimed equality with the God the Father. "Jesus said to them, 'My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.' For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God" (John 5:17-18).
"Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, 'Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me'" (John 7:28-29).
"Then they asked him, 'Where is your father?' 'You do not know me or my Father,' Jesus replied. 'If you knew me, you would know my Father also'" (John 8:19) "'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!'" (John 8:58). "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).
Therefore the Jews certainly understood that Jesus was claiming to be God and they sought to kill Him because of it. "'What about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, "I am God's Son"? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.' Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp." (John 10:36-39). This is just one incident where the Jewish authority sought to take Jesus or to stone Him and He escaped out of their hands because His time had not yet come (John 8:20).
Jesus also affirmed His deity to the disciples. "'If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.' Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.' Jesus answered: 'Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.'" (John 14:7-11, 20).
The seventeenth chapter of John records Jesus Christ's high priestly prayer. "After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: 'Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began'" (John 17:1-5).
In this wonderful prayer, Jesus says, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:20-21). Did Jesus say that He was God? Yes! Amen!
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