Did Jesus Claim to be God? [Matthew]

I have talked with a lot of people who argue that Jesus never said the words, “I am God.” So, if that were true, why does orthodox Christianity teach that Jesus is, in fact, God in the flesh?

First, I would say that the Gospels present us with four perspectives on the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus and I find them to be trustworthy. We have these four witnesses to the divinity of Jesus who are quoting Him and giving us a record of His activity on earth.

As I have studied the Gospels and the languages and culture of these early followers of Jesus, it is clear that they were thoroughly convinced of Jesus’ divinity and that they
communicated that fact very clearly to their original audience. They showed that Jesus
was God both by what He did and by what He said.

Jesus’ Actions Confirm His Divinity

The Gospels are filled with all of the evidence for Jesus’ divinity, so for the sake of this post I’ll highlight just a few events in the life of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 1:23

See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is with us.’

It’s not every day that a virgin conceives and the significance of the baby Jesus fulfilling prophecy and being named “God is with us” isn’t lost on Matthew’s Jewish audience.

Matthew 3:16-17

After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: “This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!”

The Trinity was present at Jesus’ baptism and the Father calls Jesus His beloved Son. What is the Son of God if not God? I mean, what is the son of a horse if not a horse, right?

Matthew 8:29

Suddenly [the demons] shouted, “What do You have to do with us, Son of God?”

Even the demons who were possessing the two men in the region of the Gadarenes recognized that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus didn’t deny it but He drove them out and into a herd of pigs. Pretty powerful for someone who is supposed to just be a great teacher.

Matthew 14:22-33

Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the Son of God!”

In the story of Jesus and Peter walking on water, Peter fears for his own safety when he turns his attention to the wind and the waves. Jesus rescues him and says, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they see Jesus power they worship Him and exclaim that He is the Son of God.

Matthew 27:54

When the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they were terrified and said, “This man really was God’s Son!”

The events surrounding Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection are convincing enough that Jesus was God.

Jesus’ Words Confirm His Divinity

Matthew 4:3

Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

In the next verse Jesus answers Satan and says, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” He could’ve said, “Wait a minute! Who told you I was the Son of God?” Not only do these words confirm that Jesus believed Himself to be the Son of God, but they also confirm His humanity. He replies, “Man must not live on bread alone…” He acknowledges His humanity and doesn’t deny His divinity.

Matthew 4:6-7

[the tempter] said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down…

Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”

Again, Jesus could’ve taken this opportunity to set the record straight but in this case he directly equates Himself with God by chastising Satan for testing “the Lord your God.”

Matthew 9:2-8

Just then some men brought to Him a paralytic lying on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “have courage, son, your sins are forgiven.”

At this, some of the scribes said among themselves, “He’s blaspheming!”

But perceiving their thoughts…

The scribes knew that only God could forgive sins. Jesus not only forgave their sins (something only God can do), but He told them what they were thinking (something only God can do), and healed the guy (something that can only be done by God’s power).

Matthew 16:15-17

“But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”

And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven.”

Jesus affirms that Peter’s assessment is correct and verifies that it was His Father that revealed this truth to Peter in the first place.

Matthew 28:18-19

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Jesus claims to have “all authority” and commands them to baptize not just in the name of God, but in the name of the Trinitarian God which includes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

So, Matthew’s Gospel Confirms Jesus’ Divinity

With just a few examples from the events and teachings of Jesus, it is clear that Matthew believed Jesus to be God. One final example from Matthew 11:2-5 shows that it is from what was heard and seen about Jesus that we can be certain that He is the Messiah, the Son of God:

[John’s disciples] asked Him, “Are You the One who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus replied to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news.”

Jesus is God. There is no question that He and His followers knew Jesus was God. Based on His words and His deeds (“what you hear and see”) we can be convinced today that Jesus is God.

But don’t just take Matthew’s word for it. Mark, Luke, and John would like an opportunity to make the case for Jesus’ divinity, too.

Do you believe that Jesus is God? What is the significance of that if it is true? What if it is false?

Nathan is the pastor of City Life Church in Ridgewood, NY. He and his family are committed to making and multiplying disciples in the most diverse county in the US. Read more about Nathan here. Visit the City Life Church website here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • Jim Creitz

    Hi Nathan,
    My opinion – To fully appreciate the depth of the impact of Emmanuel, not only on Earth, but in the entirety of the Universe, it is essential to know that Jesus was and is fully devine. More than that, to appreciate the crucifixion it is essential to know that Jesus KNEW that He was fully divine, and that He created those who tortured Him.

    Having said that, the most crucial attribute of His life, death and resurrection lies in the term that He most often used to refer to Himself: the son of man.

    Jesus came here to be a man; to fully identify Himself with fallen, sinful humanity. And when His time had come, He chose the death of a criminal, knowing full well that with one thought He could summon 10,000 Angels to rescue Him. He did not do that because the goal that He was focused on was to provide unquestionable proof that “the wages of sin is death”, and de-throne Satan’s lie: “you will not surely die”.

    • Great thoughts Jim! I also love the title Son of Man for it’s Messianic roots in the book of Daniel. Yet another proof that Jesus never had any doubts about his identity.

  • Your weakest argument for the claim of Jesus divinity is when God calls him is son or any reference do you actually read the whole gospel of Matthew or any in the new testament because all the gospels have statements were it refers to or states any person can be a son of god.  Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

    So by the logic of the writer of this blog, nathan creitz all peace makers are sons of God so any peace maker is God, so clearly than by using your own logic, Nathan, Gandhi being a peace maker means he is clearly God?  Do you stand by your logic, or do you just fully ignore the facts that Jesus states all people are children of God,  and that any person who fallows Jesus teaching properly is a Son of God?  

    Matthew 9
    6 But that you may know that the Son of man on earth has authority to forgive sins, then he says to the palsied man: Arise, take up thy bed, and go to thy house.

    So please explain how Jesus is doing only what God can do when he clearly states that the son of man has the authority here on earth to do so???  

    I am sorry but I am actually annoyed by your clear laziness when you reference Matthew with the weakest claims for the divinity of Jesus.

    Yet you do not even seem to grasp the Major Point when anyone states Jesus never said he was God ever..  If the most important thing is the concept of the trinity Mr. Creitz if the only way to salvation is to believe Jesus is God.  Than why would Jesus not just state, simply I am God, why is it a person must attempt to read into the text to obtain that knowledge?  

    Nat have you ever heard of the CODEX SINAITICUS which has been proved to be the oldest bible, and its clear that this bible has been altered and changed countless times yet with the help of new scientific methods there are now translations which are hard to find that reveal the original 1600 year old words of the bible, which is the only complete bible of these gospels that would be only 300 years old from the original known writings. In the original text Jesus is not known as the son of God but the Servant of God, and son in that bible is a clear alteration to it?!?!  

  • DontForgetGodCreation

    I believe that Jesus never said he was the only son of God. Humanity are the children of god. God is our creature, but not what we see men as making Children. You may see how you want as child of God, but Jesus will never say he is God, but accept he is son of God. As we all are children of God. God made us, God gave us full choice, God made us with choice despite of the devils will. God might scare us, but believe the one and only God is what keeping us alive.
    The only thing that will let God hurt Gods human, is human(with lies of the devil(Devil doesn’t even have to do anything currently)). And the only thing that will serve the devil is when something that comes and takes our choice away, with our borthers chosing to take away our choice. The biggest problem on earth wil be, changes in Gods words, and believing God will come as first.
    I hope all christians know this, anything that comes as first, says he is god and will take away our choice; is not the messiah. For the messiah will not say he is God nor take away our choice. I hope all the one faith religions know this.
    There is only one God, for their might not be existence with 2 Gods. As 2 Gods fighting might destroy ‘all’ and God will not let that happen. God lives beyond existence, he is the most true judge and God is the only savier that will/keep existence including humanity.
    May we live in freedom, may we know when freedom is taken away before we know, may God protect against those who want death of humanity.