Where and when did Jesus Christ say about Himself that He is God?
To answer this question, I will confine myself only to the statements made by the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John, although we have many proofs regarding this in the other three canonical gospels.
The testimony from the Bethesda pool
After Lord Jesus healed the 38-year-old man at Bethesda, the religious people who did not personally know God, stumbled upon the fact that the Savior had done the healing on the Sabbath day.
For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them,
“My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working. For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:16-18)
Unlike some who do not accept the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ as we find it reported in the Gospels, the Jews understood very well Jesus’ claims that He was making Himself equal with God because He was so. Jesus did not deny the conclusion they came to as a result of what He said. Moreover, he reinforced this conclusion with the following statements:
Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (John 5:19-26)
Jesus Christ listed here some qualities which only God has and that belong only to Him:
- He does whatever the Father does in like manner (omnipotent)
- He knows what the Father knows (omniscient)
- He raises the dead
- He gives life to whom He wishes
- He received all the authority to judge
- He must be honored by all as He is honored by the Father
- He has life in Himself as the Father has
What other proofs does a person need to understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is God? All these things He told the people who were ready to kill Him because He was making Himself equal with God. By saying these, the Savior emphasized that He is equal with God.
The testimony with reference to Abraham
After the Lord Jesus showed mercy to the woman caught in adultery and rebuked those who sought to kill her with stones, but who had their own guilt and many sins, He spoke to them and urged them to believe in Him. They opposed with many arguments that made them quarrel than have sense. Finally…
Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:54-56)
Here is what happened immediately:
So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” John 8:57
Be attentive at the answer that Jesus Christ gives them:
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” (John 8:58)
Christ says that before Abraham was born, He was, but He uses here the expression “I am” through whom God presented Himself to Moses when He was asked about His name (Exodus 3:14) And to make sure you see what they understood, please pay attention to the way they reacted:
Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. (John 8:59)
Do you see the same way of reaction when Jesus makes Himself equal with God? Remember the story at Bethesda.
The testimony from the Temple
When the Lord Jesus presented Himself as the Good Shepherd who gave his life for his sheep, he made the next testimony …
I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
The reaction from the Jews was not delayed this time either …
The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (John 10:31-33)
As you see here, those who were listening to our Lord Jesus Christ understood very well that He was making Himself equal with God and He did it because He is God. Again, the Savior didn’t try to convince His listeners to change their opinions. Certainly not! He has confirmed again that He was God.
It is important for every person to believe this because you can’t be saved if you deny the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. God gave us His word so that we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and, believing it, to have eternal life in His name. Beware of all sorts of devastating heresy and teachings that appeal to the divine nature of the Savior. Hurry to believe in Him from all your heart, enter the New Covenant with Him, receive the baptism by faith, and join a living church so that you can learn His good doctrine, accomplish all that the Savior has commanded, and have an inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven. So God help you!