Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jesus Never Claimed to Be God

I hear this one a lot. "Jesus said he was the SON of God. He never claimed to BE God."

These people have a point, actually. If you go to a concordance and comb through the New Testament, you will not find one single verse where Jesus says, "I am God."

"I love thee . . ."
Likewise, if you read "Romeo and Juliet," you will not find one single verse where Juliet says, "I love you" to Romeo. Nor will you find one verse where Romeo says, "I love you" to Juliet. (I know... I've done this. If you don't believe me, go to and use the "find" function on your computer to scan the entire play for yourself.) In spite of this, no one questions the fact that these two kids love each other -- perhaps not too wisely, but definitely with great passion! That's because everything else they say and do shows their love for one another.

So, simply pointing out that Jesus never said, "I am God," proves nothing. Instead, you have to look at what He said and did... in CONTEXT.

Let's just look at one example (since looking at all of them would take up a whole book). In Matthew 11, John the Baptist sends messengers to ask Jesus who He is. Jesus heals a lot of people and then replies: "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me." (Mt.11:4-6)

Taken out of context, this passage isn't much help, but Jesus seemed to think He had answered John's question. Being something of an Old Testament fan, I decided to look there and see if Jesus was quoting scripture. You see, He did that a LOT. He wasn't kidding when He said that the scriptures would never pass away (Mt.5:18, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33) and a whole bunch of the things He said were straight out of the Old Testament. Too many churches ignore these 39 books as somehow irrelevant to our walk with Christ, and fail to teach their contents. As a result, most Christians I have met are woefully ignorant about what the Old Testament teaches. This is a shame, because it is really hard to understand Jesus if you don't realize when and what He is quoting from these priceless scriptures.

So, to get back to my example...

In the book of Isaiah (which contains so many prophecies about Jesus that it is sometimes referred to as the fifth gospel), in Chapter 35, we read this:

4 say to those with fearful hearts,
"Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you."

5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.

If you read both Matthew 11:4-6 and Isaiah 35:4-6, you will notice a number of parallels. (If you didn't notice them, please go back and re-read.) While Jesus wasn't quoting verbatim, He was certainly paraphrasing. He was telling John in effect, yes, I am the one who will do all of these things. But according to Isaiah, the one who will make this happen is God: "He will come to save you." So really, in an indirect fashion, Jesus is claiming to be God.

If this were the only biblical example of this sort of claim, it wouldn't mean much, I grant you that. However, it is not. Far from it! I encourage you to dig deep into the scriptures for yourself and find some of the other passages Jesus was referencing in this one message to John (I found four altogether, but I could have missed some). Then keep going, and look up EVERYTHING Jesus said to people, and see how much of it you can find in the psalms, prophets, and books of the Law. (Deuteronomy is one of His favorites to quote from, and the one He used during His temptation.)

If you take this challenge seriously -- if you are not too lazy or too busy to try to answer your own questions about Jesus -- then I think you will find that Jesus DID in fact claim to be God... not just once, but over and over again. Certainly that is the conclusion the Jewish leaders (who knew the scriptures quite well) came to. It is the reason they tried to stone Him several times. It is the reason they condemned Him to death and handed Him over to the Romans for execution.

If you are too busy or too lazy to accept my challenge, then please, PLEASE, stop advertising your ignorance by repeating the rumor that Jesus never claimed to be God. Those who go to the source will find out that, like so many rumors, this one is untrue.

1 comment:

  1. AND if you are just a wee bit lazy *raising my hand*, you can use the footnotes on the words of Jesus (in some Bibles) that tell you precisely where to find the Old Testament reference! Wonderful post! I have been seeing another of these type of arguments lately... "Jesus never said anything against homosexuality, so it must be ok". I find that many people do not (or do not want to) address the question of audience, purpose, and context in the Bible. Sadly, it allows many to be led or lead themselves astray :(