Where Did Jesus Claim to Be God?

Author Melinda Penner Published on 05/16/2015

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.

John tells us directly that Jesus was making Himself equal with God. Since there was only one God, this was claiming to be God. In John 5, Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath and the Jewish leaders question Jesus about this violation of the law. Jesus claims authority over the Sabbath. Then John tells us in 5:18, “This is why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” They wanted to carry out the death penalty for blasphemy.

In Mark 2, Jesus heals the paralytic man and forgives his sins. The scribes who were there called this blasphemy because only God has authority to forgive sin (see Isaiah 43:25). This was a claim to be God. Luke records this claim also in Luke 5:20.

In John 10, Jesus again claims to be one with the Father. The Jews question Him, and His answers again elicit an attempt to stone Him. Jesus asks them for which of His good works they want to kill Him. They answer, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” And they attempted to arrest Him, but Jesus escaped.

In Matthew 14:33 and 28:9, Jesus received worship, the kind of worship Jews only gave God. Greg explains in more detail in this article.

Finally, Jesus’ claim to be God was the reason the Jews arrested Him and convinced Pilate to crucify Him. In John 19, Pilate tells the Jewish leaders that he finds no guilt worthy of the capital sentence. They answer Pilate, “We have a law, and according to that law He ought to die because He has made Himself the Son of God.” Jesus’ violation of blasphemy is recorded in Luke 22:70–71 when He appeared before the Council after His arrest. They had the evidence they needed from Jesus’ own lips. Mark gives more detail of this in 14:62–64. When Jesus answered them, the high priest tore his clothes and declared this was blasphemy.

Jesus said very clearly that He was God.