Since the beginning of time humankind has been wrestling with the mysteries of the universe, finding answers to some questions while others remain unknown. Maybe the most compelling question of all time is: If a supreme being exists, who is this God?
Since the 1st century, that question has included the search for an answer to this: Who is Jesus Christ? If you’ve seen previous episodes of “Amazing Discoveries,” you know we asked this question in a previous segment. Before we could answer it we had to find out if the main source for information about Jesus is a trustworthy historical document. Of course, I’m referring to the Bible.
If you haven’t seen that episode, our conclusion—based on the evidence—was that the historical document known as the Bible is accurately talking about real history. I like to think of the bible as a powerful window through which we can watch the events of first century Israel unfold in real time.
Now that we know we can trust this historical document as a source, let’s have a look at the life of Jesus and find out what He claimed about himself and see if He did anything to back up His claims.
You may have heard it said that Jesus never claimed to be God. Is that true? Well, if the question is, “Did Jesus ever specifically say the words, ‘I am God’?” then the answer is no.
Does that mean Jesus never claimed to be God? The answer is an even bigger NO!
Sound confusing? Let me explain. Let’s say that you’re looking for a professional photographer to take your senior pictures or wedding photos. You’re looking at Web sites online and you see one with all these amazing pictures. The portfolio is great and the profile of the photographer is impressive. As you read through the profile a second time, you realize that it doesn’t actually say she is a professional photographer. However, she clearly has all the equipment of a professional; and she has a photography degree. She also has a certificate as a professional photographer, as well as a huge portfolio of jobs she has done in years past. There are also excellent recommendations from her customers for her as a photographer. Lastly, she herself says on her Web site that her passion is making sure that you get the best photography experience in the business.
Now, would there be any doubt in your mind at this point that this person is a professional photographer, even though she never actually says so? This is similar to the situation with Jesus. As you will see, Jesus has all the credentials and attributes of God AND He does claim to be God. But He does it in ways we that don’t expect or understand. Let’s have a look at a few instances where Jesus makes these claims.
For example, Jesus says, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and “Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). When you look at the original Greek of these verses, there is no mistaking what Jesus is saying here.
He IS claiming to be God.
My favorite God claim by Jesus is from John 8:58, where Jesus says to a large crowd, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” What does He mean, “I AM”? Seems like a strange thing to say. However, this is the same way God introduced Himself to Moses nearly a thousand years earlier.
Remember the story? God was sending Moses to rescue his people from slavery in Egypt. After trying to convince God he was not the right guy for the job, Moses finally asks God what His name is so he could tell the people in Egypt who had sent him. God says to Moses, tell them my name is, “I AM.”
Fast forward 1,000 years, and we find Jesus applying the same term to Himself at multiple times, on multiple occasions. How do know that Jesus is claiming to be God here? Because of the reaction by the Jews he was speaking to. Each time Jesus used this title for Himself, they wanted to kill him on the spot. Why? Because claiming to be God was one of the worst offences you could commit in 1st century society. The legal punishment for claiming to be God was death, on the spot. To the ears of these first century listeners it was clear to them what Jesus was saying; He was claiming to God
So, what do you think? Did Jesus claim to be God? Any honest look at the trustworthy stories from the life of Jesus will convince you that its true. Now that’s amazing!
Next time we’ll have a look at whether Jesus did anything to back up this astounding claim. Thanks for joining us here on Amazing Discoveries and check back soon to uncover more answers to the big questions of life.