Is Jesus Christ really God? Did He ever claim to be God? Or was Jesus just a good-hearted religious teacher who became a little too zealous in His faith? Or perhaps Jesus was just a prophet–or even worse: a deceitful liar or lunatic.
During His incarnation, Jesus was very interested in people’s views concerning Himself:
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, ‘Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?’ And they said, ‘Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’ He saith unto them, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’
And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven’ ” (Matthew 16:13-17).
In this passage, Jesus praised Simon Peter for rightly stating that He was both the Christ (the promised Messiah), and the “Son of the living God,” which referred to His deity. Jesus said that the “Father” revealed this to Peter.
Friends, I’ll save you the suspense: the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is God. Furthermore, if anyone claims that Jesus is not God, they are of the Devil. That’s one thing that 99% of all cults and false religions have in common–they quickly move to deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Biblical Proof that Jesus is God
The book of John gives us perhaps the most powerful example of Jesus directly claiming to be God. Let’s examine it very carefully:
“[Jesus said] ‘I and my Father are one.’ Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?’ The Jews answered him, saying, ‘For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God’ ” (John 10:30-33).
Jesus’ statement of “I and my Father are one” infuriated the Jews. They immediately recognized that He was claiming deity by putting Himself on equal standing with God (the Father). They made this crystal clear when they responded, “being a man, makest thyself God.” Anyone with basic reading skills should get that point.
But notice how Jesus responded to them. I mean, if Jesus isn’t God, you’d think He’d be quick to correct such a notion and let them know that He was “only” the Messiah, or “only” a teacher or prophet. Instead, Jesus affirms His claim of deity, and He justifies it by using scripture:
“Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, Ye are gods?’ If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, ‘Thou blasphemest’; because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand…” (John 10:34-39).
Jesus offered the Jews two powerful arguments for His deity:
- Jesus quoted Psalm 82:6, in which the magistrates, to whom the word of God came, were called “gods.” Therefore, Jesus argued that if mere magistrates were called “gods” in Psalm 82:6 because they acted as God’s representatives and received His word, shouldn’t the Messiah and very Word of God Himself (John 1:1) have the scriptural right to be called “God?” Yes!
- Jesus further elaborated that His works proved that the Father was in Him, and He was in the Father. In other words, His works proved that He is deity and shares the Father’s very essence. The Jews realized that Jesus’ use of “Son of God” was a claim to equality with the Father. It was a claim of being God or equal with God, and they resented it.
Other Scriptures which Prove that Jesus is God
- John 1:1-2 tells us that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” Jesus was with God [the Father] in the beginning, and He [Jesus] was Himself God.
- In John 8:58, Jesus said that, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” This tells us two important things: Jesus existed before Abraham (which would be impossible if He were a mere man), and Jesus used the divine title for God from Exodus 3:14 (I AM), which points to His eternal nature. No other created beings, including angels, are eternal.
- In John 20:28, Thomas saw the nail-pierced hands of the risen Christ. With amazement he affirmed the deity of Christ by exclaiming, “My Lord and My God.” In the original Greek, it literally reads, “the Lord of me and the God of me.” Jesus accepted this worship without rebuke.
- Matthew 1:23 tells us that one of Jesus’ other names is “Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.”
- Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3 tell us that a voice in the wilderness (John the Baptist) will prepare the way of the Lord, and make straight “a highway for our God.” The new testament tells us that John the Baptist fulfilled this scripture. For whom did John the Baptist prepare a way? Jesus, our God!
- Isaiah 9:6 refers to Christ as “Mighty God.” The Hebrew word ‘el gibbor’ is used, which is commonly applied to God in the Old Testament (see Deuteronomy 10:17; Judges 5:23).
- Jesus permitted people to worship Him on many different occasions (Matthew 2:11, John 9:38). Yet, the angel in Revelation 19:10 rebuked John for trying to worship him. Jesus, as God, can rightfully accept worship.
- Jesus forgave people’s sins, something only God has the power and authority to do (Mark 2:10).
- Jesus is referred to as our great God and savior (Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1), yet Isaiah 43:11 says that God alone is savior (which makes sense, since no others can forgive or pay for anyone else’s sin). Jesus paid our sin debt so that we can have eternal life by believing on Him.
- Jesus created the universe according to Colossians 1:16, yet Genesis 1:1 clearly says that only God did this. Is that a contradiction? Not if Jesus is God!
- Jesus told Philip that if you’ve seen Him, you’ve seen the Father (John 14:9). Why? Because Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Christ is “the brightness of his [God the Father’s] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
- Colossians 2:9 says of Christ, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
- Jesus, as the “God-man,” remained sinless (Hebrews 4:15), yet the Bible says that all men have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).
- Some cults (like the Jehovah Witnesses) accept that Jesus was the Messiah and existed before His incarnation, but deny his deity by claiming that He is merely an “angel” only. However, Hebrews 1:5-8 completely obliterates this false doctrine that Jesus is “just” an angel, and it actually shows the Father calling the Son, who was begotton and not made, “O God”:
“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” (Hebrews 1:5-8).
Conclusion: Jesus Christ is Clearly God, as the Bible Teaches
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is God. There is only one God, eternally existing in three “persons”: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
In the flesh, you could also call Jesus a prophet, healer, teacher, preacher, rabbi, man, Son of man, Messiah, Son of God, and many other things. However, he wasn’t “merely” a prophet, teacher, Messiah, or man. He was and is God Almighty–the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
C.S. Lewis, the late atheist-turned-Christian apologist, offered this brilliant argument for the deity and person of Christ (from his book Mere Christianity):
I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say.
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. 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 with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher.
He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.
Friend, who do you say that He is? I say that He is “my Lord and my God.” So many people today go around saying, “I believe in God.” Well, which God? There are hundreds of false gods. If you say you believe in God, that’s good, but be specific. Friends, I believe in Jesus!
Are you saved? If you died right now, do you know that you’d go to heaven? The Bible teaches that there is only one way to heaven, and His name is Jesus. No other ‘god,’ no other religion, no other ‘prophet,’ and no amount of “good works” can get you there. We’re all sinners, and the only way to be cleansed from our sin is to apply the blood sacrifice of Christ—the lamb of God.
Jesus never pointed the way, He WAS and IS the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but through Him.
The Bible says that to be saved, you must “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved–you and your household” (Acts 16:31). Pray to God, and confess that you’re a sinner and acknowledge that you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ–that He died on the cross for your sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again bodily on the third day.
I hope you’ll take advantage of the FREE gift of salvation offered to all people by Jesus Christ. It was the single best decision I’ve ever made in my life. If I had 1,000 lives, I’d give them all to Jesus. This world means nothing to me. Jesus is everything.