Did Jesus Even Claim to Be God?

by J. Brian Huffling, Ph.D.

I sat down with some Jehovah’s Witnesses who were visiting with me. The elder who was leading our study stated that Jesus never claimed to be God. Jehovah’s Witnesses argue that Jesus is a created being. Liberal “Christians” argue that Jesus never claimed to be God. Many other groups say the same. If such is the case, then Christians have some explaining to do as they teach that Jesus is God. But did he ever claim this title for himself? Let’s look at what he actually said.

I am going to argue that, yes, Jesus in fact did claim to be God. This can be seen by the fact that he claimed to be identical with God in various ways.

Jesus Claimed to Be Identical with God

Jesus made statements about himself that were expressly made of Yahweh in the Old Testament. Let’s look at the OT claims and then Jesus’ claims.

“I AM”

One of the clearest passages of Jesus claiming to be God is his claiming to be Yahweh as being the great I AM of Exodus 3:14.

OT Claim: “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’” The designation “I am” was solely reserved for Yahweh and was recognizes by the Jews as such. (Exodus 3:14)

Jesus Claim: “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.‘ 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple” (John 8:58-58). Clearly the Jews understood Jesus to be making himself equal with God. That’s why they wanted to kill him…

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Did Jesus Even Claim to Be God?