Those of us who follow Christ believe that Jesus is God. In fact, we’re staking our salvation and eternal lives on that. But there are many who say Jesus was “just a good man”, a powerful prophet, or a great teacher. Others say Jesus was an impostor…a wannabe God who deceived many. So how do we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is God?
First, let me say: Jesus claimed to be God. He claims a special relationship with the Father. John 5:18 says, “This was 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.” He applied the term “Son of God” to Himself, meaning “one who has the exact same nature as God.” He also claims to have been pre-existent. In John 8:58, Jesus told the Jews: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” It was then that they picked up stones to kill him. In their minds, Jesus was committing blasphemy by claiming to be God. In fact, He was implicitly claiming to be Yahweh by declaring “I am,” the same words first spoken to Moses in Exodus 3:14.
Jesus also claimed other divine prerogatives. Here are 5 of them:
1. He claims to forgive sins, which is something only God can do. (Mark 2:1-12)
2. He claims that all judgment is in His hands (John 5:27; Matthew 25:31-46).
3. He claims power over life and death (John 5:21, 25-29; 11:25)
4. He claims that He will send the Holy Spirit (John 15:26)
5. He claims and exercises divine authority over:
The Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28)
The angels (Matthew 13:41)
His Kingdom (Matthew 13:41)
Scripture (ex: Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28)
Others said He is God.
His disciples claimed Jesus is God. For example, Peter declared Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Thomas, after Jesus’ resurrection, exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). And what’s critical to note is that Jesus never told them NOT to worship Him. He accepted their worship because He is God!
His own brothers (half-brothers) claimed Jesus is God. This might be the most astounding proclamation ever…to claim that your own brother is God!!! His brother James declared himself to be “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1)
His brother Jude stated he was also a “servant of Jesus Christ” (v. 1). He later, proclaimed that Jesus as “our Lord” (v. 17, 21, 25) The prophets, before He was born, declared He is God (for example, see Isaiah 9:6).
He is worshiped as God.
Many worshiped Him. The wise men, a healed leper, women, a demoniac, a blind man, and His disciples all worshiped Him. And as I previously noted, He accepted such worship (see John 20:28-29; Matthew 14:33; 28:9-10). Even His disciples prayed TO Him (Acts 7:59), and He encourages them to do so (John 14:13-14).
Finally, Jesus does what only God can do.
He fulfills prophecy. The odds of one man fulfilling that many prophecies is virtually impossible. He performs miracles (see Luke 7:20-22), and He resurrects from the dead. He predicted His resurrection (John 2:19; Matthew 12:40; Mark 8:31). He claimed the authority behind the resurrection (John 10:17-18).
One of the foundational beliefs that sets Christians apart is the fact that we follow Jesus, our Lord and our God. Church, rest assured that the Jesus you believe in and follow was not just a good man, a great teacher, or a prophet…He is God! May that bring you peace in your problems, promise for your future, and power to share that life-transforming truth with others!