Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Common Objection #34- "Jesus never claimed to be God!"

Some people argue that Jesus never claimed to be God.  I reject this claim. Now, don't misunderstand me.  He didn’t use those exact words, but He clearly claimed to be God nonetheless.

Remember when God first appeared to Moses in the burning bush? Moses asked God for His name and God answered Moses as follows:

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14).

Now, it is important to understand that at the time of this interaction between God and Moses, Israelites revered the “I AM” name of God. This beloved title was not to be given to anyone or anything other than God Himself.  Now fast forward to Jesus’ time here on earth.  One day the Pharisees come along and they are questioning the power, authority and teachings of Jesus. They actually accuse Him of being demon possessed!  Consider John's record of what happened:

"The Jews answered him [Jesus], 'Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?'  Jesus answered, 'I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me.  Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge.  Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.'  The Jews said to him, 'Now we know that you have a demon!  Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, 'If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.'  Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?  And the prophets died!  Who do you make yourself out to be?'  Jesus answered, 'If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing.  It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God.'  But you have not known him.  I know him.  If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word.  Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day.  He saw it and was glad.'  So the Jews said to him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?'  Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.'  So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.'"  (John 8:48-59).

The Pharisees knew exactly what Jesus meant.  He was claiming to be God.  They were planning to stone him for blasphemy. 

Bible teacher J. Warner Wallace explains the implications of this passage:

“When Jesus took on God’s holy title as his own, He was stating the modern equivalent of ‘I am God.'  He did this repeatedly over the course of his ministry (see Mark 14:62, John 18:5-6, John 8:24 and John 8:28).  So while you may not find the expression ‘I am God’ in the Gospels, you’ll certainly find the ancient equivalent.  It’s no wonder that the Jewish religious leadership would eventually want Him executed.”1

Moreover, in John 10:30, Jesus makes this astonishing claim- "I and the Father are one."  Here, Jesus is claiming that He and the Father are one in nature or essence.  He was claiming deity.  The Jews understood this completely.  Why did they want to stone Him?  As the Jews themselves stated, "...because you, being a man, make yourself God" (John 10:33b).

So, even enemies of Jesus understood that he was claiming to be God.  

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. J. Warner Wallace, Jesus Specifically Said, "I am God," Nov. 7, 2016.

Related Posts

59 Confirmed or Historically Probable Facts in the Gospel of John

Video: Where Did Jesus Say, "I Am God, Worship Me"? by David Wood

Jesus as God in His Parables

For Further Research

The Circumstantial Case For John’s Authorship by J. Warner Wallace

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