Where Did Jesus Claim to Be God?
by Melinda Penner
Where did Jesus claim to be God? Jesus made this claim a number of times, and it was very clear to those He was talking to. Jesus didn’t utter the three words, I am God. But He said it very explicitly in the context of His religion and culture. You can see it in the reaction of His enemies.
Monotheism was the central tenet of Judaism. They confessed the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” There is only one God, and Jesus, as a good Jew, believed this. He also claimed to accurately teach the Old Testament. So when Jesus answered Philip that to see Him was to see the Father, this was a claim to deity.
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” (John 14:8-11)
Some religions may make this claim without it being a claim to deity. But for a Torah-fulfilling Jew, He was telling Philip that He is God.
John recounts Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees in John 8:58-59. Jesus uses a very specific title that Jews understood was ascribed only to God.
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.
Jesus uses the title “I AM,” the name God uses for Himself when answering Moses in Exodus 3:14. The reaction of the Pharisees confirms this is precisely what Jesus was claiming because they tried to stone Him for blasphemy…
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