Does the Bible, which is the earliest and most historically reliable source, actually say Jesus is God? What does it tell us about Jesus and His identity?
Let’s take a brief look at a few of the many passages that clearly and consistently answer that question, straight from the pages of Scripture. We’ll begin by going back an additional 700 years before the life of Christ, to the Old Testament book of Isaiah.
Jesus is God – Prophecies
- This Messiah would be born a human son, but have a higher natureIsaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
This was a radical statement coming from a monotheistic Jewish prophet -- especially calling a human being “Mighty God”; but one that God fulfilled centuries later in Christ.
- A couple hundred years later, but still more than half a millennium before Jesus walked the earth, more was predicted about the Messiah’s divine natureDaniel 7:13-14: “There before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven . . . He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
“Son of Man” was the primary title Jesus used for Himself -- and this passage shows that this was a clear and strong claim of deity. And in Mark, the earliest of the four Gospels, He also included the unmistakable phrase, “coming on the clouds of heaven” and applied it to Himself (Mark 14:62). His listeners got the point, refused to believe it, and added it to their reasons to try to kill Him.
Jesus is God – His Earthly Ministry
- The baby Jesus worshiped by the MagiMatthew 2:11: “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.”
Along with being led to the site where Jesus was born, these Magi were apparently informed by God about Jesus’ divine identity, and so they responded appropriately by worshiping Him.
- Jesus accepted worship from His disciplesMatthew 14:32-33: “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”
In a Jewish culture, only the one true God can be worshiped; their actions show that they acknowledged Jesus as being divine. And Jesus didn’t correct them or say, “Don’t you realize that I’m just a mortal prophet? Stop worshiping me!” Rather, He accepted their worship, knowing He really was God in human flesh.
- Jesus’ claim about HimselfJohn 8:58-59: "‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.”
This is a powerful double claim from Jesus: first, that He pre-existed His human birth and was actually alive and present (as God) before Abraham; second, that His title was “I am” -- which was the same title used for Jehovah God in Exodus 3:14. His listeners again got the point, and picked up stones to execute Him!
- Another of Jesus’ claims of deityJohn 10:30-33: “‘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.’”
It couldn’t be clearer than it is here: Jesus’ highly educated listeners understood His claim of deity. They only had two possible responses: to humble themselves and bow before Him as the Magi and the disciples had done earlier, or reject His claim and judge Him as a blasphemer. Unfortunately they chose the latter option. But notice that Jesus doesn’t argue with their accusation, because it was accurate. He really was claiming to be God!
- Thomas’ response to the resurrected JesusJohn 20:27-29: “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ 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.’"
This disciple realized, because of Jesus’ resurrection, who Jesus really was -- and humbly worshiped Him and declared His true identity: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus not only accepts this declaration, but blesses all of the disciples -- and all of us today -- who come to the same realization and place of humble worship.