Unveiling the Divine: Did Jesus Proclaim Himself as God?

As Christians, we are often asked if Jesus ever claimed to be God. This is an essential question that we need to address since it forms the core of our faith.

The Debate Surrounding Jesus’s Divinity

Some scholars, such as Bart D. Ehrman, have made careers out of denying Jesus’s divinity and the trustworthiness of Scripture. They argue that Jesus’s divinity is a later invention by his followers and not a historical fact. The motive behind this denial is to discredit Jesus’s deity and thus undermine the foundations of Christianity.

For Christians, Jesus’s divinity is of paramount importance, as our faith rests upon it. So, did Jesus ever claim to be God? Let us explore one of the most explicit passages in this regard, John 5:19-30.

Jesus’s Four-fold Claim of Divinity

In John 5, Jesus encounters Jewish religious leaders who object to his healing of a man on the Sabbath. Jesus answers their objection by stating that he only does what he sees his Father doing. This angers the Jewish leaders, who perceive Jesus’s words as equating himself with God.

Rather than correcting their understanding, Jesus strengthens his claims, asserting the following:

  1. He is one with the Father in his actions (5:19-20)
  2. The Father has given him authority over life (5:21, 24-25)
  3. The Father has given him authority over judgment (5:22, 26-30)
  4. Worshiping the Father is only possible by worshiping the Son (5:23)

Understanding Jesus’s Claims

Jesus claims that he is one with the Father in his actions, emphasizing his unity and equality with God. He asserts that his actions reflect those of the Father and that their purposes are entirely united.

Moreover, Jesus claims divine authority over life, stating that the Father has granted him the power to give life to whomever he wishes. This would be an outrageous claim if it were not true.

Jesus also claims divine authority to judge the living and the dead, which is another divine prerogative. He states that the Father does not judge anyone but has assigned all judgment to the Son.

Finally, Jesus claims that honoring him is how we honor the Father. He says that anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. This statement implies that Jesus is worthy of worship, an honor reserved only for God.

Embracing Jesus’s Divinity

The Jewish leaders understood that Jesus was claiming to be God. Jesus didn’t correct them; instead, he reinforced the truth that he is, indeed, divine.

Despite attempts to discredit Jesus’s deity, it is clear from the Scriptures that Jesus claimed to be God. He is not just a human being or a lesser divine being; he is the Son of God, equal to and distinct from the Father.

As Christians, our response to Jesus’s claims must be to embrace them wholeheartedly. We must honor, obey, and worship Him in every aspect of our lives. For Jesus is the only one worthy of our praise.