Did Jesus claim to be God? Absolutely.
In a world where those who follow Jesus are coming into an ever increasing contact with people of other beliefs, religions, and groups, it is valuable to know that not only did the writers of the New Testament claim Jesus was God, Jesus Himself claimed to be God.
The leaders of the day were regularly questioning Jesus, trying to trip him up. On one occasion Jesus was asked what He thought was the greatest command
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Both commands apply to us now. Jesus is God and we are called to Love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We are also called to love our neighbors as ourselves. The greatest manner of showing love to our neighbors is sharing the hope found only in Jesus the Christ. We need to be aware of all the needs of others including their spiritual needs. Increasing contact increases our opportunities to love God and others.
When God called Moses to go to Egypt to bring His people out of slavery, Moses knew that the people and the Pharaoh would want to know by what authority he could order or demand the release of up to half the people who lived in Egypt. In Exodus 3:14 God provides that name when Moses asks, “14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.'””. אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה, ’eh-yeh ’ă-šer ’eh-yeh; “I AM WHO I AM” was the name God gave to Moses to give to anyone who wanted to know the source of his authority.
Again while walking the earth, leaders of the Jewish community where constantly asking Jesus who gave Him authority. This is what we see in Mark 12. “13 Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap Him in a statement.”
61 But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” 63 Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 “You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.
Jesus claimed more than just being the “Son of the Blessed One.” In answering “I AM”, these leader knew Jesus was claiming to be one with “the Blessed One,” and the authorities responded by condemning Him as deserving of death. Jesus is God.
In looking at “I AM” occurences in Hebrew and Greek, I was rewarded by more connections than I expected. Below is a roadmap of posts I hope to add in the future. For a further look at the concern over authority, Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg explores this dynamic in his captivating book: The Jewish Gospel of John: Discovering Jesus, King of All Israel –
- Jesus Claims to Be God
- Did Jesus Audience Say Jesus Claimed to Be God and Messiah
- Jesus Claim to Be the Son of God
- Jesus Claim to be Greater than the Just a Man (additional)
- I AM Words of the Old Testament, New Testament, Septuagint
- ’eh·yeh — in the Old Testament
- ἐγώ εἰμ in the Septuagint – Greek
- ἐγώ εἰμ in the Septuagint – English