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Sunday, June 01, 2014

Did Jesus Really Ever Claim to be God?

“Jesus was a good moral teacher. Sure, he had a special relationship with God and thought he was doing God’s work, but he never claimed to actually BE God. The idea that Jesus is God is something his disciples made up after his death”.
This statement or variations on it are very common. [It’s made by this particular Muslim, for one  Ed.

It is also erroneous.

If we are willing to sit down and examine the gospels, we will discover that on numerous occasions and in many ways Jesus claimed to be God.

First, Jesus allowed Himself to be worshiped as God

The following linked scriptures make it clear that worship belongs only to God, never to mere men or even to the most glorious angels. For the Jewish people of Jesus’ day, to worship anyone or anything other than God was absolute blasphemy. Yet when Thomas fell down before Jesus and said, “My Lord and my God”, Jesus did not rebuke Him. Other instances where Jesus accepted worship from others are found in these four scriptures. There were also many times when people knelt or fell down before Him in a worshipful manner, and He did not prevent or correct them.

Second, Jesus put Himself and His words on a par with God

He claimed that to see Him was to see God, to know Him was to know God, to receive Him was to receive God, to believe in Him was to believe in God, to honor Him was to honor God, and to hate Him was to hate God. He asked His disciples to obey His commandments and to pray in His name.

Third, Jesus claimed to have attributes and powers which belong only to God

He said that He had power to judge all men and nations. He claimed to forgive sins. He said that He had authority to raise the dead at the last day. He proclaimed Himself the giver of eternal life.

Finally, Jesus directly stated that He was God

Not merely a son of God or a servant of God, but God Himself. In John 8:58 He claimed for Himself the name of the “I AM”, the special name by which God had made Himself known to Moses. He also said, “I and the Father are one”. The Jews who were listening to Him at the time quite rightly took these statements as outright claims to being God; and since they did not believe He could be telling the truth, they tried to stone Him for blasphemy. Yet even then, with His life in jeopardy, Jesus did not correct or modify their impression of what He had said, but in fact went on to add to it, saying that “the Father [is] in Me, and I in Him”.

Jesus was not just a good human teacher. He Himself taught that He was far more than that. Jesus’ disciples did not invent the idea that He was God; they merely expounded on what He had openly proclaimed.

As C.S. Lewis said:
“You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to”. 
RJA

Republished by permission

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