Jesus’ message was entirely about the Father and not about himself. He did not make an explicit and overt claim to deity. He did not say in so many words “I am God.” What we do find are His claims to his deity. For example, Jesus said that he would send “his angels” (Matthew 13:41); elsewhere they are spoken of as “the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9; 15:10).

There are many prerogatives which Jesus claims regarding His deity. Here’s what you need to know.

First, His claim to forgive sins. When the paralytic was lowered through the roof by His friends, Jesus did not respond with a comment about the man’s physical condition or his need of healing. Rather, his initial comment was “My son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5).

Second, Jesus speaks also of judging the world (Matthew 25:31-46). He will sit on His glorious throne and divide the sheep from the goats. The power of judging the spiritual condition and assigning the eternal destiny of all people belongs to Him. Certainly this is a power which only God can exercise.

Third, the authority which Jesus claimed and exercised is also clearly seen with respect to the Sabbath. The sacredness of the Sabbath had been established by God (Exodus 20:8-11). Only God could abrogate or modify this regulation. Yet consider what happened when Jesus’ disciples picked heads of grain on the Sabbath and the Pharisees objected that the Sabbath regulations were being violated. Jesus responded by pointing out that David had violated one of the laws by eating of the bread reserved for the priests. Then, turning directly to the situation at hand, Jesus asserted: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; so the Son of man is lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28). He was clearly claiming the right to redefine the status of the Sabbath, a right which belongs only to someone virtually equal to God.

Fourth, Jesus is also claiming an unusual relationship with the Father. Jesus claims to be one with the Father (John 10:30); and that to see and know him is to see and know the Father (John 14:7-9). There is a claim to pre-existence in his statement in John 8:58, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” Another allusion to pre-existence is found in John 3:13, where Jesus asserts, “No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.” There is also a claim to simultaneous and co-terminus working with the Father: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).

Fifth, the clearest indication of Jesus’ self understanding is found in connection with his trial and condemnation. The charge according to John’s account was that “he has made himself the Son of God” (John 19:7). Matthew reports the high priest to have said at the trial, “I adjure you by the living God; tell us, if you are the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63). Jesus replied, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64).

Sixth, Jesus also accepted the attribution of deity to him by his disciples. The clearest case of this is his response to Thomas’ statement, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Here was an excellent opportunity to correct a misconception (if that is what it was), but Jesus did not do so. Seventh, Jesus made his most emphatic statement in his words to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).

Believing in the deity of Christ is an important requirement for our salvation. Denying Christ is denying his death and resurrection and thereby denying the assurance of our salvation. We have to believe in what Jesus says: “I AM THE WAY, AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME” (John 14:6).

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