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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
[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.”
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).
“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.
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?