Jesus Christ claimed to be Almighty God in three unmistakeable ways.
First, He stated indirectly and directly that He is God. Second, He intentionally performed miracles to demonstrate He is God. And, third, He punctuated His claims of being the infinite God by rising from the dead.
This question of claimed deity is generally asked by two categories of people.
The first are those who sincerely don’t know. They are honestly seeking the truth. There will be enough here to convince them that Jesus claimed to be God.
The other group is comprised of people who have made up their minds without evidence, or against evidence that Jesus did not claim to be God.
Perhaps there is no convincing the group that obstinately rejects the evidence that Jesus claimed to be God. But maybe there is yet hope of eternal life for those who prematurely decide against Jesus’s claims to be God and have not examined His own words and deeds.
The Timing and Context of Jesus Claiming to Be God
It’s important to understand the timing and context of the earthly ministry of Jesus as we review His claims to be Almighty God. God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ was meticulously planned. Nothing was left to chance.
According to the plan of God, the Holy Spirit produced the miraculous birth of the infinite Son of God through Mary. The Bible tells us this was done “in the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4).
The fullness of time is that exact moment in history that God considered perfect for the physical birth, or the physical manifestation, of God the Son, Jesus Christ.
Understanding this concept of timing as it relates to Jesus Christ is needful to appreciate why Jesus often spoke in riddles. God the Father had predetermined the time in which Jesus would tell the world plainly that He is God. Prior to that moment, Jesus would limit this communication to close friends and a few strangers.
Surprisingly, even though He is known now for His outstanding miracles, there were times when He sought to keep these a secret in an attempt to diminish His growing popularity. Jesus was keen not to allow Himself and God’s plan to be hurried and dictated by circumstances.
Jesus Kept It A Secret For 30 Years That He Is God
An interesting fact is that Jesus Christ lived a regular and totally unspectacular life in a small Jewish village in Israel for thirty years before He began His public ministry.
Of course, we know that Mary knew her son was God. And relatively speaking, there were a few more around the time of the physical birth of Jesus who knew He was God.
Elizabeth Knew Jesus Is God
Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, knew Jesus was God. Mary visited her when she was very early in her pregnancy with Jesus. When she entered her cousin’s home, Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit and said the following:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”Luke 1:42-43
God supernaturally revealed to Elizabeth that the Child Mary was carrying was the Lord. Elizabeth knew Jesus was God.
A Group of Shepherds Knew Jesus Is God
We’ve heard the Christmas story. Shepherds were in the field one night when an angel appeared and gave them remarkable news:
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”Luke 2:8-12
The shepherds knew Jesus was God.
The Wise Men From the East Knew Jesus Is God
A few or more wise men from a foreign land saw a supernatural sign in the sky that led them to believe Israel’s long awaited divine King had been born.
They left their land and arrived in Jerusalem to inquire of the whereabouts of this King. Their question was this:
Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.Matthew 2:2
Once they found the newborn King, this is what happened:
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.Matthew 2:11
The fact that a supernatural ball of light low in the atmosphere appeared and led the wise men to the location of the newborn Child is not by itself proof they believed Jesus was God. But them falling down and worshipping Him is proof.
The wise men knew Jesus was God.
The Old Prophet Simeon Knew Jesus Is God
There was a very old prophet who had been told by the Holy Spirit “that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:25-26).
So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation…”Luke 2:27-30
Simeon knew Jesus was God.
Jesus Indirectly Claimed To Be God
Jesus made many statements in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that were indirect claims of being God. We know they are so because of two reasons.
First, Jesus indirectly claimed things of Himself that could only be true if He were God.
Second, Jesus indirectly claimed things of Himself that were clearly understood by His immediate audience to be something only God could claim. This resulted in attempts on His life even prior to the crucifixion.
Here are some statements Jesus made where He indirectly claimed to be God.
Jesus Claimed to Be God By Saying He Had General Power to Forgive Sins
A paralyzed, bedridden man was brought by his friends to Jesus as He spoke in a house. The religious authorities who hated Jesus watched to see what He’d do.
When Jesus saw the faith of the paralyzed man and his friends, He said something extremely provocative:
“Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man [Himself] has power on earth to forgive sins“–He said to the man who was paralyzed–“I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them…Luke 5:20-25
Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Lawlessness is the practice of breaking the law. The law of which I speak is the law of God. God’s acceptable standard of thought, motive, and behavior.
As I can’t forgive a man for sinning against another, neither could Jesus forgive a man for sinning against God–unless He Himself is God. Since He is, He was able to say to the man, “Your sins are forgiven you.”
This is exactly how the Lord’s enemies interpreted His statement. For they thought within themselves, Who can forgive sins but God alone?
Jesus Claimed to Be God by Stating He Could Directly Grant Or Deny People Access to God the Father
Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.Matthew 10:32-33
This is a clear statement that Jesus considers Himself the only way to God the Father and heaven. But perhaps any religious teacher or so-called prophet could say that about his own teachings.
Yet, in this statement, the topic isn’t His teachings; it’s Him. Jesus made entry into heaven absolutely dependent upon us publicly confessing Him as our Lord.
Only God can deny a person entry into heaven.
Jesus Claimed To Be God By Stating He Was Lord of the Sabbath
The Pharisees were doing their usual spying on the Lord and His disciples when they spotted the disciples plucking heads of grain to eat. They immediately accused them of breaking the Sabbath. Jesus gave them a history lesson of the Law and ended His rebuttal with an astounding claim:
For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.Matthew 12:8
Every Jew knew that Almighty God was the One who created the Sabbath. This is one of the commandments included in the Ten Commandments God delivered to Mose on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20).
Since God created the Sabbath, only He could claim to be Lord of the Sabbath.
Yet Jesus looked His enemies in the eyes and said in no uncertain terms: “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath!”
Everyone knew Son of Man was one of Jesus’s favorite titles He called Himself (Matthew 16:13). Consequently, everyone knew this was a claim of deity.
Jesus Claimed to Be God by Saying His Angels Would Gather the Wicked at the End of the Age for Destruction
Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.Matthew 13:40-42
Jesus sends out His angels at the end of the age.
They gather the wicked out of His kingdom.
His angels. His kingdom. The angels and the kingdom belong to God alone. But Jesus said they belong to Him. That’s because He claims to be God.
Jesus Claimed to Be God by Saying He Would Return in the Glory of His Father with His Angels
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.Matthew 16:27
Now Jesus enlarges upon His ownership of the angels and mentions the day the saints are rewarded for their service to God.
Again, we see Him claiming to do something only God can do. He’s the One giving and withholding rewards.
Jesus Claimed to Be God by Saying He Would Sit On His Throne of Glory in the Coming Eternal Kingdom
So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.Matthew 19:28
The word regeneration can also be translated “the renewal of all things” (NIV) or “the new world” (ESV).
Jesus claims that in the coming new world, of which the whole Bible points to, He will sit on the throne of His glory.
But that’s not all. He’s going to grant great honor, authority, and responsibility to His twelve apostles for their faithfulness to Him.
It’s pretty clear that Jesus sees Himself as more than a teacher and prophet. He sees Himself as God.
Jesus Claimed to Be God by Saying He Would Appear in the Heavens in Power and Great Glory
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.Matthew 24:29-31
Here is another place Jesus speaks of His second coming. Notice that those still alive at the end of the horrible period that immediately precedes His second visible coming mourn because of Him.
I’m going to cheat a little here and use a passage of Scripture not quoted directly by Jesus. But since they directly enlarge upon this event of which Jesus spoke, I think it’s appropriate:
Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains,
and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?”Revelation 6:14-17
Who is coming back at the end of the age in wrath to judge and destroy the wicked? We see God the Father…and God the Son.
Jesus Claimed to Be God by Saying He Would Judge the Nations at the End of the Age
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…
Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.Matthew 25:31-34, 41
The end of the age is the most spectacularly dramatic period in human history. Every nation and people group since Adam and Eve will be sorted before God and collectively judged.
How God does this, no one knows. We’ll find out on that great day.
What we do know, however, is that it takes more than being a good man or a great prophet to gather before you every nation that has ever existed. That requires the power of Almighty God.
And it requires the ability and authority of Almighty God to examine and reward or examine and condemn such a vast sea of people.
Nonetheless, Jesus claims He is able to do all of the above. And He will do all of the above.
Jesus Claimed To Be God Through His Miracles
The apostles were alone with Jesus. They were only hours away from His betrayal. He began to share or reinforce many last minute revelations with them.
- He told them He was going to heaven to prepare a place for them (John 14:1-2).
- He told them He was coming back to get them so they could be with Him (John 14:3).
- He told them He was the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
- He told them anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father (John 14:7-10).
In the course of His discussions with Philip, one of the apostles, He tried to bring him to a better place of understanding His divine identity with these words:
Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works [miracles] themselves.John 14:11
There were several great miracle-working Old Testament prophets before the physical ministry of Jesus: Moses, Samson, Elijah, Elisha. Moses was no doubt the greatest, if we’re simply comparing miracles.
But even so, it was obvious to all that Moses performed miracles through the God who was visibly and spectacularly leading Israel. Remember the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day that led them. Sometimes the miracles didn’t happen until he spent considerable time in prayer crying out to God.
Conversely, Jesus calmly acted upon His own authority.
Another area of distinction is the miracles performed directly by Moses, though spectacular, were relatively few in comparison to the miracles of Jesus. And, again, it was apparent that Someone other than Moses was actually performing the miracles.
In contrast, Jesus performed miracles from early morning to late evening, every day and night for three and a half years. And instead of food dropping from heaven or water coming from a rock from the invisible God, Jesus did everything Himself–again at His will.
His miracles were so great and numerous in comparison with the Old Testament prophets that those who saw the Lord’s miracles asked the question:
Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?”John 7:3 NLT
Plus, a unique feature of the Lord’s miracles were they were overwhelmingly to heal people from sicknesses and diseases, and to free people from evil spirits. That is something Moses and Samson didn’t do, and something Elijah and Elisha were only able to do a few times. Although neither cast out demons.
But Jesus did cast out demons. By design, He was unique in His miracles. The words He told Philip are for us as well, “Believe Me for the sake of the miracles” (John 14:11).
Jesus Directly Claimed To Be God
Over the course of His three-year public ministry, Jesus privately told a few people that He was God. But as the date of His predetermined death by God the Father got closer, Jesus began to make clear statements that He was God.
Here are some of those statements.
Jesus Claimed to Be God By Assuming Ownership of Judgment Day
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in Your name?”
And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”Matthew 7:21-23
This is another place where Jesus speaks of what He’ll do on Judgment Day. I could have placed it in the indirect category like the others. I didn’t, however, because this time He actually calls Himself Lord.
Or at least everyone on Judgment Day is calling Him Lord. He doesn’t correct anyone for doing so. Coupled with everything else He has said about Himself, this is good enough for me.
Jesus Claimed To Be God To A Woman Of Samaria
Jesus was having a long evangelistic discussion with a woman in Samaria who was drawing water from a well. Jesus commented on the different competing understandings the Jews and Samaritans had about worshipping God (John 4:1-24).
Finally, the conversation moved to a climax.
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”John 4:25-26
It was rare for Jesus to speak so plainly with anyone about His divine identity. But the woman’s thirst for eternal life was answered by a clear claim of deity.
Jesus Claimed To Be God When He Asserted Power Over The Resurrection
The resurrection at the end of the age of the evil unto eternal damnation, and of the righteous unto eternal life, is a foundational doctrine of the Bible. God is the Author and Executor of the resurrection, and yet Jesus directly claimed Himself to be its Author and Executor.
Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.John 5:25-29
It was an incredible thing for Jesus to look at a mob that was trying to kill Him, and boldly tell them it would be His voice they hear calling them from the grave!
Everyone who heard these shocking words knew Jesus was directly and clearly claiming to be Almighty God.
Jesus Claimed To Be God When His Accusers Asked Him If He Was God
On the night Jesus was betrayed by Judas according to the plan of God, His enemies asked Him plainly whether or not He claimed to be the Christ, the Son of God, which in Jewish culture was synonymous to being God.
The time for speaking in riddles and parables was over.
And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You? But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”
Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy. What do you think?” They answered, “He is worthy of death!”Matthew 26:62-66
The religious authorities finally had Jesus in their murderous hands!
“We’re sick of you and your parables and riddles,” they said. “Stop these games and tell us plainly. Are you the Christ, the Son of God? Do you claim to be God?”
This time there was no riddle, parable, or answer that could be taken this way or that. Jesus answered, “It is as you said.”
Jesus had finally made a bold, and according to them, blasphemous claim to be God. They took this statement and made it the foundation of their case to have Jesus executed.
Critics of the divinity of Christ cling to their desperate rebuttal that Jesus never claimed to be God. But is that what we see here? Did the Lord’s enemies get into a gleeful rage at His answer because He had not claimed to be God?
Jesus Claimed To Be God In A Private Meeting With His Disciples
Jesus revealed His deepest secrets in moments when He was alone with His closest disciples. One of those secrets was His divinity.
On one of those private occasions, Jesus steered the conversation to His divinity:
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.Matthew 16:13-17
Jesus could have easily answered, “No, Peter, you’ve got it wrong. I’m just a good teacher and prophet. I’m not the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Instead, He confirmed the truth of Peter’s statement the strongest possible way. He said His Father in heaven was the One who had revealed this to him!
Jesus Claimed To Be God By Rising From The Dead
By far, the greatest proof that Jesus Christ is Almighty God is the fact that He prophesied He would willingly lay down His life as a sacrifice for our sins and afterward rise again from the dead on the third day after His death.
Jesus Christ was brutally murdered by the long death of public crucifixion. So there was no doubt that He actually died on the cross.
Yet when the disciples went to the tomb on the third day, they were met by an angel that said the following:
He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”Luke 24:6-7
This is the biggie.
Certainly, the totality of all the other statements Jesus said about Himself is proof that He saw Himself as God, and He claimed on several occasions to be God. But when He fulfilled His own prophecy and rose from the dead on the third day, that sealed it.
Jesus Christ is God!
Jesus Claimed To Be God After Rising From The Dead
Jesus appeared to John about sixty years after He had risen from the dead. This is where the Lord gave his apostle a series of interactive visions which we know as the book of Revelation.
In these visions, Jesus Christ is dramatically and spectacularly depicted as God from the beginning of His discussion with John to the end of the age when He returns in great glory and power to destroy the wicked and reward the righteous.
But for our purposes we’ll only look at how Jesus claimed to be God in two statements in Revelation.
Jesus Claimed To Be God By Saying He Is “The First And The Last”
The claim of being the first and the last is made by God in the Old Testament:
Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts: I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.Isaiah 44:6
Yet, sixty years after His resurrection from the dead, Jesus says the same thing of Himself:
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”Revelation 22:13
Why would the resurrected Christ call Himself the First and the Last knowing this was a title of Almighty God? Speaking of Almighty God…
Jesus Claimed To Be God By Calling Himself “The Almighty”
All the claims we’ve listed in this article are just a sample of the claims of deity Jesus made. This last one is an appropriate exclamation mark on one of the Lord’s shortest and clearest claims to be God:
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.“Revelation 1:8
I can see the diehard Jesus-never-claimed-to-be-God cynics twirling like a fish on a hook, trying to find a way off, looking desperately for a creative interpretation of the word Almighty.
The word used for Almighty in Revelation 1:8 is pantokrator. It requires no interpretation. It means exactly what Almighty conveys, and in the Bible is used only for God.
Can We At Least Agree Jesus Claimed To Be God?
A person may look at all of these references and still not believe Jesus is God. But is it reasonable to read what Jesus said about Himself and still say He didn’t claim to be God?
Eric is the author of a bunch of books. Check them out here.
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