Did Jesus Really Claim To Be God?

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

It is sometimes the assertion of skeptics that Jesus never actually said He was God. A Muslim issued a similar challenge to offer Biblical evidence of Jesus’ claim to deity and that He ought to be worshipped. Below is dialog from that debate [updated 11.9.12], which may be ongoing.

Muslim:

I challenge you to find anything clear that Jesus is God and that people should worship him in your book for example, i bet you will come up with some twisting and interpolating to come to term with the theology.

Christian:

“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18)

“‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’” (John 8:58)

“‘I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?’ ‘We are not stoning You for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10:30-33)

“‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (Mark 14:61–62)

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio

“Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:28)

“Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.”(John 14:9)

Muslim:

““For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18)”

On the contrary, this verse records that Jesus was saying that God was his father, not that he was himself God , it emphasis Jesus’ authority came from the fact that he was the Son of God (in Islam we read this as his messenger), not God Himself.

The concept of people being “equal” is found in several places in the Bible. For example, when Joseph was ruling Egypt under Pharaoh, Judah said to him, “You are equal to Pharaoh himself” (Gen. 44:18). Jesus was using God’s power and authority on earth, and was thus “equal” to God in the same way Joseph, who was using Pharaoh’s authority and power, was equal to Pharaoh.

““Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)”

Saying “I am” does not make a person God. The man born blind that Jesus healed was not claiming to be God, and he said “I am the man,” and the Greek reads exactly like Jesus’ statement, i.e., “I am.” Ego eimi. It does not identify Jesus with God, but it does draw attention to him in the strongest possible terms. “I am the one—the one you must look at, and listen to, if you would know God.

Even Paul also used the same phrase of himself when he said that he wished all men were as “I am” (Acts 26:29). Still this did not make Paul, the man born blind or the Messiah into God.

“‘I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?’ ‘We are not stoning You for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10:30-33)”

The phrase was a common one, and even today if someone used it, people would know exactly what he meant—he and his father are very much alike. What prophet Jesus meant was he and God have “one purpose.” Hw uses the concept of “being one” in other places, and from them one can see that “one purpose” is what is meant. eg John 11:52 says Jesus was to die to make all God’s children “one.”

“‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (Mark 14:61–62)”

Inded, He is the son of man, He is NOT God, and muslims believe too he was taken up to God rescued from crucifixion when he was leading the armed rebellion

“Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:28)

It is an exclamation by Thomas, muslims do this often, Wallahi, Yaa Allah when shocked or astonished. The context of the verse shows that its subject is the fact that Jesus was alive. Only three verses earlier, Thomas had ignored the eyewitness testimony of the other apostles when they told him they had seen the Lord. The resurrection of Christ was such a disputed doctrine that Thomas did not believe it (the other apostles had not either), and thus Jesus’ death would have caused Thomas to doubt that Jesus was who he said he was—the Messiah. Thomas believed Jesus was dead. Thus, he was shocked and astonished when he saw—and was confronted by— Jesus Himself.

“Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

This refers to a close communion, a tight fellowship. It was part of the covenant language of the day Christ and his followers. It needs to be understood the same way as in We are “in” Christ, and Christ is “in” us used in John 14:11, John 14:4-7; 17:21,23 and 26).

You see your foundation to prove that Jesus is God is weak. You are resorting on twisting vague and obscure verses in order to substantiate that Jesus is God. on the contrary I can list overwhelming number of VERY CLEAR VERSES about Jesus Christ’s identity and his distinction from God . This is in line with previous monotheism taught by earlier prophets.

Nowhere prophet Jesus said HE IS GOD and ask his follower to worship him. You failed this challenge

Christian:

“[John 5:18] records that Jesus was saying that God was his father, not that he was himself God.”

Actually, it SAYS that this declaration accomplished the task of “making Himself equal with God.” The aim of Judah in Gen. 18:44 was flattery of Joseph. That was not in the picture in John 5. If Jesus claimed God’s authority, it would certainly mean equality in deity. Can any human be “equal with God”?

“Saying “I am” does not make a person God. [John 8:58]”

Jesus wasn’t using “I am” in the traditional sense, or He would have said “Before Abraham was, I was.” At minimum, that would have made Jesus older than Abraham (which is what the ignorant Pharisees understood when Jesus spoke of knowing Abraham (vs. 56,57). The I AM Jesus spoke is the I AM of Exodus 3:14. This enraged the Pharisees so that “they picked up stones to stone Him,” not the typical Jewish response to someone merely claiming to be older than Abraham.

A claim to be God WOULD warrant such a response, as it in fact DOES in John 10:30. Jews would not pick up stones to kill Jesus if all He was claiming was that “he and God have one purpose.” Why would the Jews have a problem with Jesus aligning Himself with the purposes of God? Weren’t the Jews aligning themselves with what they thought was God’s purpose?

And do we really need to look any further than vs. 33 to prove Jesus claimed to be God? We have eye-witness testimony of the Jews: “We are not stoning You for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God’”

“Inded, He is the son of man, He is NOT God [re: Mark 14:61–62]”

The “Son of Man” is a Messianic term for God in the flesh, and Jesus would have no business “sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” if He were not equal with God.

“[“My Lord and my God!”] is an exclamation by Thomas, muslims do this often, Wallahi, Yaa Allah when shocked or astonished. … Jesus was dead. Thus, he was shocked and astonished when he saw—and was confronted by— Jesus Himself.”

Don’t Muslims exclaim “Wallahi, Yaa Allah” as a response of worship? That was Thomas’ response in John 20:28 also. “My God” means just what it says: Thomas recognized His risen Savior as God and responded appropriately. Only God could have defeated death. Thomas clearly understood that Jesus was God, and notice Jesus does not correct Him, but instead calls Thomas blessed for seeing the truth.

“Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)… refers to a close communion, a tight fellowship. It was part of the covenant language of the day Christ and his followers. It needs to be understood the same way as in We are “in” Christ…”

It needs to be understood that way on Islam, but that is not what it says. If you said the same thing Jesus says here and in the verses that immediately follow (10,11) with respect to Allah, what type of response would you get?: “Anyone who has seen me has seen [Allah]… How can you say, ‘Show us [Allah]’? Do you not believe that I am in [Allah] and [Allah] is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but [Allah] who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in [Allah] and [Allah] is in me…”. You would be asserting something much more than a close communion or tight fellowship.

In these verses Jesus claims deity as clearly as He needed to, a point that should have been obvious WITHOUT such declaration, since He also made this claim by performing miracles on God’s authority and raising from the dead. He did not plainly say “worship Me”, but after declaring Himself to be God, what would be the point in saying that? It was obvious to everyone that when you encounter God, you should worship Him (Ex. 23:25, Surah 3:64).

Muslim

“Actually, [John 5:18] SAYS that this declaration accomplished the task of ‘making Himself equal with God.'”

You just make an interpolation. God is not being identified as Jesus but as the Father. If Jesus was claiming to be equal with God, the passage says that claiming to be God’s son afforded Jesus equality with God. The Jews quite clearly are understanding that a son has equality with his Father in some sense.

“Jesus wasn’t using ‘I am’ in the traditional sense…”

Again you make an interpolation to associate this term a unique term with the God of the old testament.

In John 9:9 the phrase “I am” is again used by a blind man healed by Jesus. He use the exact same type of language in the third person. So it is quite plain that Jesus was most definitely not implementing a unique language convention to identify himself as Yahweh. This is just John’s vocabulary.

“[re: Mark 14:61–62] The “Son of Man” is a Messianic term for God in the flesh, and Jesus would have no business “sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” if He were not equal with God.”

All prophets of God (all of them are son of Man except Adam wich is the first man) are up in the heaven sitting in God throne. Muslims tradition record prophet Muhammad miraculous night journey when he met with previous prophets.

“Don’t Muslims exclaim “Wallahi, Yaa Allah” as a response of worship? That was Thomas’ response in John 20:28 also. “My God” means just what it says: Thomas recognized His risen Savior as God and responded appropriately. Only God could have defeated death. Thomas clearly understood that Jesus was God, and notice Jesus does not correct Him, but instead calls Thomas blessed for seeing the truth.”

Not a good argument.

Both the preceding and following context reveal that Thomas was shocked and Jesus let him to seeing and believing. It is not a sign of worship at all!

“And do we really need to look any further than [John 10:33] to prove Jesus claimed to be God? We have eye-witness testimony of the Jews: “We are not stoning You for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God’”

First when the Jews make a charge of blasphemy and Jesus responds to that charge by quoting from Psalm 82

The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy because you, being a man, make yourself a god.”

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, “I [YAHWEH] said, ‘you are gods’?” If he [YAHWEH] called them gods with whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be broken, do you say to the one the Father set apart and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,’ because I said, “I am a son of God’?

Notice how the Jews charge him with blasphemy and Jesus then responds by asking why they charge him with blasphemy for claiming to be the son of God when God calls others “gods.” also.

Jesus objected with the Jewish charge he himself a devout Jew. and taught them that Scriptures show us that God himself called other men “gods.” a title commonly used in the OT as not the same authority as God the Father.

Besides the Jews never ever understood Jesus to be claiming to be God, and therefore their God, is made abundantly clear in the following passage:

In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God; Let God save him if he delights in him, for he said, ‘I am a Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:41-43).

Here the Jews clearly have no notion whatsoever that Jesus had claimed to be God.

They do not mock him and say, ‘Save yourself if you are God.’ They rather perceive that for Jesus, God is someone else who would need to save Jesus if indeed Jesus is truly a son of God. ie the man of God , the messenger of God in Islamic terminology.

All you did was trying to in inject your dogma into the passages.

Im thankful to God that I have faith in Islam, the guardian of the monotheism. Im amazed you just resort to some twisting and obscure passages to support your position.

Why is it the single most important element of (present-day) Christianity the fact that Jesus is God descended to earth in the human form to save humanity from sin never stated, clearly and unequivocally?

Christian

Re: John 5:18… “The Jews quite clearly are understanding that a son has equality with his Father in some sense.”

“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him…” The jews tried to kill Jesus because He was claiming “equality with his Father in some sense”? That’s a non-sequiter. They wanted Him dead because He obviously called God His Father in a divine sense.

Re: John 8:58… ”Again you make an interpolation to associate this term a unique term with the God of the old testament. In John 9:9 the phrase “I am” is again used by a blind man healed by Jesus. He use the exact same type of language in the third person. So it is quite plain that Jesus was most definitely not implementing a unique language convention to identify himself as Yahweh. This is just John’s vocabulary.”

And again, “at this, they picked up stones to stone Him” over an issue of vocabulary? Of course not. 🙂

Re: Mark 14:61-62… “All prophets of God (all of them are son of Man except Adam wich is the first man) are up in the heaven sitting in God throne. Muslims tradition record prophet Muhammad miraculous night journey when he met with previous prophets.”

The right hand of the Mighty One is one seat, not many. And besides, before this, “the high priest asked Him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”, to which Jesus responds, “I am.”

Re: John 20:28… “Both the preceding and following context reveal that Thomas was shocked and Jesus let him to seeing and believing. It is not a sign of worship at all!”

So you’re saying Thomas was merely exclaiming something equivalent to “OMG!”, using God’s name in vain (and then being commended for it)? He says “My Lord and my God”… acknowledging Jesus’ authority by “Lord” and His deity by “God”, Thomas’ God (“my”), One worthy of worship. To see Thomas’ statement as merely a reaction of surprise is to assume something the text in no way calls for.

Re: John 10:33… “All you did was trying to in inject your dogma into the passages.”

Rather, you have altered the meaning of John 10:33, 36, and Matt 27:43 by adding the indefinite article “a” to “to be God” and “Son of God”. There’s no article in the Greek and no reason to interpret these clauses as “to be a god” or “a Son of God.” That’s what the JW’s tried to do with John 1:1, the unwarranted “the word was a god” instead of the correct translation, “the word was God.”

Besides, the idea of polytheism would have been pretty foreign to the Jews. In 10:34-36, Jesus was likely arguing from the lesser to the greater. In other words, if it is permissible to call men “gods” because those OT judges were the carriers of the word of God, how much more permissible is it to use the word “God” of him who is the Word of God?

Re: John 14:9… “Why is it the single most important element of (present-day) Christianity the fact that Jesus is God descended to earth in the human form to save humanity from sin never stated, clearly and unequivocally?”

Billions of Christians agree that Christ’s deity has been stated clearly and unequivocally. Without it, you don’t have Christianity. It isn’t clear to you because the teaching of Islam denies Christ’s deity. No doubt you and I have marveled at how hundreds of millions of Atheists can deny the existence of God, despite His obvious revelation in nature (Romans 1). Atheism is a worldview that requires that denial. In Luke 16, there is the rich man in hell who calls out to Abraham, begging him to warn the rich man’s brothers so they could avoid hell. His response was that “if they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'” (v.31) Some people won’t believe no matter what is presented. How much more clarity in Jesus’ claim to deity would you require before you would subvert your ultimate convictions? What we see and how we interpret the evidence is all influenced by our most basic convictions, Christians included. But as I’ve shown, Christianity stands to reason in the analysis of the presuppositions.

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