I had a pastor tell me one time, as we stood in front of his church, that Jesus never claimed to be God. I knew a Sunday School teacher who had been teaching adult Sunday School for many years and yet found himself stumped by something he read in a Christmas lesson. The idea he said he had never heard before was that Jesus was God. The Son of God yes, but God no. I have read many who say that nowhere in the New Testament does it claim that Jesus is God. Well, I am finishing a book dealing with just this subject because I find it fascinating, in the face of these kinds of statements, just how often Jesus claimed to be God.
The Gospel of John
Jesus claimed equality with God the Father in a number of places. In John 10:30 he claimed, “I and the Father are one.” Now some claim this means one in purpose or one in desire but the Greek word here is neuter and so means one in essence, or “one thing.” In John 14:9 Jesus claims that if you see him then you see the Father. That is a statement of identity just as it was in John 5:23 when Jesus said to honor the Son is to honor the Father. It is also the case in John 12:44-45 when Jesus says that to believe in Him is to believe in the one who sent him and to see Jesus is to see the one who sent him.
If you doubt these sayings because they are from the Gospel of John see the updated version of Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh and Sean McDowell, p176.
The Gospel of Matthew
Jesus also claims to be the only true revelation of the Father. In Matthew 11:27 he says, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” To know God is the way Jesus is speaking of we must know Jesus as the full revelation of God. Then in Matthew 21:33-45 Jesus tells a parable in which he represents himself as the son and heir in the Kingdom of God and as one who stands above the prophets because he reveals more than they revealed.
Jesus goes so far as to say that what the Father does the Son does. John 5:19, “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.’” This he says in response to those standing right in front of him who were offended that he was making himself out to be equal with God. I am always amazed that the people standing right in front of Jesus thought he was claiming to be God but some today standing 2000 years later in a far different culture think they know better than the eyewitnesses.
The Gospel of Mark
Jesus makes an open admission of his deity in Mark 14:61. When asked point-blank if he is the Messiah, the Son, “And Jesus said, ‘I am, and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” Jesus answers in the affirmative using the “I am” title and making claims that are found in the Old Testament to be true only of Yahweh. We are approaching Christmas. If Jesus is not God with us, Immanuel, then what are we celebrating?